chapter  13
Arms Control Law in Crisis? A Study of the North Korean Nuclear Issue
ByMasahiko Asada
Pages 26

The North Korean nuclear issues have exposed the international community to a great proliferation risk for more than ten years. They have grown particularly serious since North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, DPRK) reportedly admitted in October 2002 that it had clandestinely pursued development of nuclear weapons based on uranium enrichment. Legally speaking, the North Korean proliferation risk reached its worst point in January 2003, when Pyongyang announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) . However, that was not the first instance in which North Korea had declared withdrawal. They had done so in March 1993, but at that time the declared withdrawal was suspended one day before its effectuation (withdrawal takes effect three months after its notification) . Given the complicated nature of the situation, there can be several ways of interpreting the North Korean status under the NPT. This article tries to examine four such interpretations, including those given by North Korea itself and by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) . It will also give some thought to the North Korean obligation to accept IAEA safeguards under the Safeguards Agreement with the Agency and under other legal and political arrangements.