APLN Policy Brief 32
The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full brief.
The ongoing escalation of tensions in Northeast Asia may drag other countries in the region into an arms race. Active multilateral political and diplomatic efforts should resume without any preconditions, with China and Russia playing a central role in addition to North Korea and the United States. The negotiations should be based on the principles of “phased and mutual approach” and “security steps in exchange for reciprocal security steps.” In practice, the first phase of the dialogue could involve the parties undertaking a commitment to desist from any steps that could lead to further escalation in the region. As part of these commitments, North Korea could announce a unilateral moratorium on missile and nuclear tests, while the United States could significantly limit the scale, format and scenarios of its joint military drills with South Korea, as well as military build-up in the region. The long term goal of the negotiations should be achieving a nuclear-weapon-free status of the peninsula and building a reliable system of peace and security in the region that would take into account the security interests of all the regional states, while at the same time confirming their right to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy under IAEA safeguards, and to peaceful economic exploration of outer space.
Anton V. Khlopkov is Director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), an independent think-tank established in 2008 in Moscow, and Editor-in-Chief of Nuclear Club journal. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Russian Security Council, of the Multilateral Study Group on the Establishment of a Ballistic Missile Free Zone in the Middle East/Gulf and of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS, London). Editor-in-Chief of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Encyclopedia (2009), he has published several monographs on global and regional nuclear policy issues.
Image: Joyce Lee/APLN, Grégory Roose.