The WMD Challenge on the Korean Peninsula: Exploring a Joint U.S.-ROK Alliance Response
part of the Building Six-Party Capacity project
April 26, 2002
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Strategic Trends Affecting the Korean Peninsula
Synopsis: The September 11 tragedy and the sweeping reassessments of America's global strategy undertaken by the Bush administration have had a direct effect on inter-Korean relations and regional dynamics. With these fundamental shifts in U.S. policy as a backdrop, this session will examine the overarching trends in Northeast Asia that are likely to shape (both directly and indirectly) the interests and roles of all major players involved in the future of the Korean Peninsula. The potential impact of these trends on WMD-related policies and priorities will be highlighted and assessed.
U.S. policy toward the Korean Peninsula 1. Strategic and regional policy shifts under Bush 2. Washington's relations with Seoul and Pyongyang, comparing and contrasting 2001 and early 2002 3. Impact of September 11 on U.S. threat assessment of WMD and proliferation 4. Post-State of the Union Address issues: can Pyongyang be effectively engaged? Inter-Korean relations 1. Domestic/national drivers in the South 2. Kim Jong-Il's next steps; what is driving the North? 3. The fate of the Sunshine Policy · Regional perspectives and dynamics 1. Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance 2. China 3. Russia 4. North Korean relations with Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq 5. TCOG, Four Party Talks, ARF, APEC, EU
The WMD Conundrum on the Korean Peninsula
Synopsis: While concern over North Korea's WMD and missile capabilities has preoccupied major players in Northeast Asia for some time, the ongoing campaign against terrorism has, for most, further underscored the risks such capabilities can pose to the region and beyond. President Bush's remarks on an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address simply (if somewhat controversially) brought U.S. concerns about these risks front and center. This session will analyze in-depth the current status of the North's WMD/missile-related assets and the future trajectory of such assets (and their associated infrastructure) on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, the various incentives and disincentives for WMD retention in the near- and longer-terms will be explored, as well as the broader impact of WMD retention on regional security. The question of focusing appropriate high-level attention to the issue and its priority will be discussed.
Review of existing mechanisms for managing/curtailing WMD programs in the North
- 1994 Agreed Framework
- IAEA Inspections/NPT
- U.S.-DPRK missile talks
- CWC, BWC
The South Korean dimension
- Seoul's interests in strategic counters to the North's assets
- ROK views on WMD utility before and after reconciliation/reunification
- Homeland security for the ROK? Reopening the missile defense issue?
- Convergence and divergence of views with the United States; rebuilding mutual confidence now and under a new ROK president in 2003
Assessing the likelihood of WMD retention
- General incentives and disincentives for WMD retention
- By the North during the reconciliation process
- By a reconciled and/or united Korea ("peace regime," confederation, or full-fledged unification)
- By a rump government in North Korea or a faction in the event of regime failure
Regional and global repercussions of WMD retention
- Impact on U.S.-ROK alliance; "local" implications for USFK; regional implications for USPACOM
- Japanese reaction
- Chinese reaction
- Russian reaction
- Implications for global non-proliferation regimes
U.S.-ROK Approaches to WMD Management Problems
Synopsis: Obviously, an ongoing presence, or even a seriously suspected presence, of WMD on the Korean Peninsula - a presence that could persist prior to, during, and after possible reconciliation and eventual unification - could prove to be quite destabilizing to the region, and, if not handled effectively, quite disruptive to U.S.-ROK relations and to regional relations more generally. As a key step toward dampening and eventually eliminating WMD risks on the Peninsula, therefore, the United States and the ROK need to consider establishing a multifaceted management plan for WMD, one that integrates a range of approaches to risk reduction and one that is coordinated where appropriate with other interested parties and institutions. Toward that end, this session seeks to clarify U.S.-ROK priorities for WMD management, and then to assess a variety of techniques and procedures for getting "from here to there."
Clarifying U.S.-ROK priorities for WMD management
- Containment of WMD threats: deterrence and defense
- Securing WMD assets/facilities in crisis scenarios: timing, methods, goals, and forces
- Prevention of export/migration of assets, technology, know-how, etc.
- Dismantling/removing WMD infrastructure overtime (and verifying the process)
- Assessing the level of convergence or divergence within alliance, promoting cooperation, and avoiding antagonism
WMD management options during and after reconciliation
- Confidence and trust-building measures among all three parties
- Arms control: conventional, strategic, and asymmetric reductions, and the linkages between and among them
- Cooperative threat reduction: can it work on the Peninsula?
- Regional and extra-regional consultative initiatives
- Shoring up existing non-proliferation regimes
Additional options for crisis management and WMD emergencies
- Developing WMD-relevant crisis response capabilities, including information and intelligence sharing
- Joint consequence management plans and teams: concepts, organization, and command issues
- Improving both active and passive defenses (including missile defenses), and applying recent U.S. lessons-learned
Assessing the wider implications for the U.S.-ROK alliance
- Potential impact of above on U.S. military presence
- Potential impact on existing alliance structures
- Need to manage public perceptions/expectations
Coordinating U.S.-ROK Policies for the Way Ahead
Synopsis: This session would begin to lay out a roadmap for U.S.-ROK coordination on WMD risk reduction and policy development. It would identify priority objectives, highlight specific approaches for particular problems, and outline a plausible division of labor, both at the U.S-ROK alliance level and in the context of broader regional and multilateral initiatives.
- Distilling and identifying key problems and issues
- Prioritizing a plan of action
- Shaping a strategy for implementation
- Establishing a division of labor; identifying likely leading and supporting organizations in both capitals