20 September 2005

Looking Ahead to 1992

The joint statement of the six-party nuclear talks includes a reference to the 1992 Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a bilateral agreement between North and South Korea not to possess or test nuclear weapons or enrich uranium. In that declaration, a South-North Joint Nuclear Control Commission (JNCC) was established to oversee inspections of one another'’s nuclear facilities as well as oversee all aspects of fulfillment of the agreement. The JNCC met 22 times between is establishment on May 18, 1992 and its dissolution in January 1993.

On a side note, SeoulĂ‚’s agreement with North Korea'’s right to have a civilian nuclear program is nothing new, as it is a key feature of the 1992 agreement as well.

What this says about the future is, well, who knows, but it is interesting to look back at previous documents on Korea's nuclear programs and see that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It will be important to watch the bilateral inter-Korean aspect of the new joint declaration to see just how far both sides are committing to the idea that reunification is inevitable, and better to start strengthening both halves and reducing the socio-economic gap now then to wait until reunification and delay the rectification of economic and development divisions.

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