The Next Nuclear Agreement with North Korea: prospects and pitfalls

With the primarily positive developments of 2007, the potential for a long-term agreement between the United States and DPRK is greater now than at any time in the past five years. The February 13, 2007 agreement, and the follow-on meetings that have been held within the Six Party process and at the working group level, have led to continued, albeit halting, progress. The DPRK has begun the process of disabling its reactors and has pledged to provide the United States with a complete list of nuclear-related sites by the end of 2007. The United States has provided 50,000 tons of fuel oil, pledged to take the DPRK off the terrorism list and begin removing economic sanctions, and has alluded to a possible political relationship of some type in the future. The framework of the February 2007 agreement is rooted in the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement. The creators of the new deal intended to “sharpen” what was already agreed to in 2005 with respect to cultural exchange(s); normalization of relationships; status of DPRK vis-à-vis the U.S. State Department’s List of State Sponsors of Terror and the Trading with the Enemy Act; clarification of which party/parties would pay for disablement; and the delivery of heavy fuel oil.