PSNA Working Paper Series
Reducing Nuclear Dangers on the Korean Peninsula: Bilateral versus Multilateral Approaches
by Thomas Graham
In this essay, Thomas Graham examines the limits of an inter-Korean denuclearization agreement as a basis for North Korean nuclear disarmament. He examines other options such as a standard UN regional nuclear weapons-free zone, and reviews the experience of other regions, in particular, the Latin American Nuclear Weapons Free Zone treaty. He finds that such regional zonal treaty offers distinct advantages to both Koreas as well as its neighbors and other nuclear weapons states when compared with a limited inter-Korean denuclearization declaration. Overall, he concludes: “As the two Koreas and the great powers, especially the United States, consider their options of the best political and legal framework in which to realize a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, it is prudent to note the strengths and weaknesses of the 1992 Joint Declaration, and to ascertain if a new but more comprehensive bilateral agreement might be used today, or whether an alternative, more robust multilateral framework exists such as a nuclear weapons-free zone that might subsume the 1992 Joint Denuclearization commitments, and overcome its evident shortfalls.”
About the Author
Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., served for nearly three decades at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, including a decade and a half as general counsel as well as Acting Director of the agency for most of 1993. In 1993 he led the effort to establish a long-term moratorium on the conduct of nuclear weapons tests. From 1994 to 1996, he was a principal figure in the worldwide effort to successfully support the conclusion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty negotiations. In 1994 President Clinton appointed Thomas Graham as his special representative for arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, with the rank of Ambassador. From 1993 to 1995 Ambassador Graham led the successful U.S. government effort to indefinitely extend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He has taught at—among others—Stanford University, University of Virginia, Georgetown University, University of Washington and Oregon State University.
This study is one of three conducted by APLN-member led cooperation between Asia Pacific Leadership Network, Nautilus Institute, and the Research Center for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons at Nagasaki University. The three organizations have co-published this essay. This report is published under a 4.0 International Creative Commons License the terms of which are found here. It is published also by Nautilus Institute here and the Research Center for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, Nagasaki University, here.
Image: iStock, Bakhtiar Zein.