Weapons of Mass Destruction in North Korea

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North Korea’s ability to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) had been worrying the global community, especially the United States of America for almost two decades. In 1993, North Korea had announced that it would withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. That is when sanctions were imposed on the North Korea by the United Nations. There was a war-like situation between US and North Korea in 1994 as US became insecure about its position. Geneva Agreement of 1994 was reached after negotiations between the then North Korean leader, Kim Il Sung and the Jimmy Carter, the then President of US. US kept trying to limit North Korea’s activities for the development of WMD through diplomacy. (Donald G. Gross, 2002)

The test of long-range Taepo Dong missile, which was conducted in August of 1998, was troublesome and shocking for the US. For last several years, the National Missile Defense has been producing defensive antimissile systems. The US has been feeling much threatened by the North Korea’s WMD development, though many countries, especially China has repeatedly pointed out that US is over-exaggerating the situation. (Donald G. Gross, 2002)

In June 2001, the Bush Administration altered its approach towards security issues with North Korea. Emphasis was not only laid on the WMD issue but also on the conventional force deployments on the Peninsula. The six-party talks were first conducted in 2005 in Beijing. The North and South Korea, Russia, China, Japan, and the United States were involved in the negotiation process. China had urged that Korean Peninsula be made free of all nuclear weapons and also urged that North Korea be given incentives as that of security guarantee and economic aid. The US backed China but also stated that it was a very long process.

It was important to decide who would initiate the process of denuclearization. US primarily wanted North Korea to agree to a verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear activities, in addition to concessions in development of its ballistic missiles and the human rights record. North Korea wanted to enter a peace agreement with the US, along with economic help and security guarantees. North Korea, however, was not happy with US’ demand to initiate the scrapping of its nuclear weapon facilities and insisted that a step-by-step approach be followed. It also wanted to get incentives and progressive rewards in return. Furthermore, North Korea rebuffed the allegations about its famous plutonium plant in Yongbyon and the secret enriched uranium program. The dispute was a great obstacle in the diplomatic process. (BBC, 2005)

North Korea had announced its successful nuclear plan on October 9, 2006. As a result different sanctions were charged on North Korea by the United Nations Security Council. Citing Chapter VII of the UN Charter, unanimously adopted Resolution 1718, restrictions were imposed on North Korea’s trade of military units and trade of their luxury goods, technology transfers, and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)-related parts. (The Christian Science Monitor, 2008)

In December 2006, the Six-Party talks started once again started and later there was a meeting between United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in January last year. One more round of the Six-Party talks was held in February 2007. On 13th of February, a mutual agreement was reached when North Korea acceded that it would close its Yongbyon nuclear facility. It was also decided that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) be allowed to monitor and verify these tasks. This was called “Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement”.

In the summer of 2007, Yongbyon was shut down after the nuclear disarmament negotiations with United States and four other countries. CNN was one of the two US news organizations that were present at that time. The CNN reported about chopping down of heavy metal pipes that were used in the coolant pipes. These were used to steam the turbine generators and so electricity was produced. Neutralization of nuclear fuel rods was done underwater. Plutonium which was used in making nuclear weapons was being abstracted from the rods at reprocessing plants. Parts of the plant were taken apart, covered with plastic and were put in storage. Personnel from the US Department of Energy also assisted in the process. (CNN, 2008)

In return, North Korea had many expectations from the US, including removal of sanctions, provision of heavy fuel oil, and removal of North Korea from the ‘axis of evil’ countries. However, the US failed to live up to these expectations until earlier this year, and consequently the disabling process start to slack off at Yongbyon. The US’s stance was that North Korea had not accounted for all its former nuclear actions. This time around, however, both the sides were trying to overcome the obstacles. (CNN, 2008)

After US decided to remove North Korea from the list of countries that sponsored terrorism, North Korea permitted that UN inspectors could come to inspect North Korea’s main nuclear complex in Yongbyon. Inspectors started preparing for resuming the monitoring program after the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed about the decision. However, the US had been trying for a much broader agreement because lot more needed to be done to ensure denuclearization. (The Christian Science Monitor, 2008)


Donald G. Gross, Weapons of Mass Destruction and North Korea, 2002. Web.

BBC News, N Korea negotiations turn stormy. 2005. Web.

CNN, North Korea lifts nuclear veil. 2008. Web.

The Christian Science Monitor, North Korea allows back nuclear inspectors. 2008. Web.

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1. DemoEssays. "Weapons of Mass Destruction in North Korea." May 26, 2022. https://demoessays.com/weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-north-korea/.


DemoEssays. "Weapons of Mass Destruction in North Korea." May 26, 2022. https://demoessays.com/weapons-of-mass-destruction-in-north-korea/.