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Intervention of Mr. Jacques Marion in the webinar on 23 June 2023

North Korea’s Nuclear Status and New Approaches to Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Summary: The adoption by North Korea of the law on policy towards nuclear forces finally consolidates the status of the DPRK as a nuclear power, which dictates the need to reconsider the approaches of the international community to the North Korean nuclear missile program. In particular, it becomes obvious that the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council against the DPRK did not produce the desired result, and the continuation of US-North Korean negotiations on denuclearization in the existing modality is meaningless.

In this context, the coordinated policy of Russia and China regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula, aimed at achieving the possibility of a gradual and commensurate withdrawal of the DPRK from its nuclear missile program by easing UN Security Council sanctions, also requires a certain revision.

Unlike other "unofficial" nuclear states, such as India and Pakistan, which refused to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the DPRK acceded to and then withdrew from the NPT, creating a unique and dangerous precedent for the nuclear non-proliferation regime. In particular, this gave rise to discussions about the need for Article 6 of the NPT, which provides for the renunciation of nuclear weapons by non-nuclear states in exchange for the obligation of nuclear countries not to use them and to pursue nuclear disarmament.

The final consolidation of the nuclear status of the DPRK dictates the need to develop new approaches to maintaining the nuclear non-proliferation regime, taking into account the prevailing realities. In particular, the experience of bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan on transparency and confidence-building measures in the nuclear missile sphere, as well as the experience of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) in ensuring the regional aspects of nuclear non-proliferation, including the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Central Asia, deserve to be studied.

The 1992 Declaration on the Nuclear-Free Status of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the prospects for North Korea to join the Nuclear Test Ban and Fissile Materials Treaties, as well as the missile technology control regime, should also be assessed in the light of these new realities.

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