"Nuclear Crisis on the Korean Peninsula"

Moderator: Professor Kumao KANEKO (special adviser to JPPNW)

Panelists: Dr. Byung Hoon Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President of KPPNW

   Dr. Choe Chang Sik (DPRK) (?)

   Dr. Lu Rushan (China) (?)

   Dr. John Pastore (USA)

     Dr. Tuvshinbat (Mongolia)  


Introductory notes:

Within less than a year, we will be observing the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet our ardent hope that nuclear weapons will be abolished from the surface of the Earth seems much farther from realization than ever before. Very little progress, if any, has been made by the nuclear-weapons States in implementing their "unequivocal undertaking" of nuclear disarmament -- a commitment made during the 2000 NPT Review Conference. Nor has any real progress been made for stopping nuclear proliferation in the Third World. In fact, we are now confronted with increasing danger of nuclear weapons in many parts of the world.

Here in Northeast Asia, the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula continues to grow rather than diminish in spite of the diplomatic endeavors by the governments concerned at their 6-party talks held in Beijing already three times in two years. At the root of the problems lies the lack of mutual confidence among the regional countries at the official level. The governments are inevitably preoccupied with short-term issues before them. Hence the need -- and the possibility -- for non-governmental organizations, such as the IPPNW, to tackle with longer-term issues and help engender the political climate conducive to better relations among the countries concerned.

At the past meetings of the IPPNW North Asia Regional Conference, we have discussed the various ways and means whereby we can make useful contribution to the enhancement of regional security. This time in Beijing, we must try to move a step further towards that end. One of the steps that can possibly be taken is to explore the feasibility of the concept of a regional treaty creating "Nuclear-Weapons-Free North Asia". Too idealistic and premature it may appear on the surface, the concept does deserve a serious consideration at this point in time.

It is to be recalled that already a preliminary proposal for such a regional treaty was presented to the Conference at the previous meetings?in Beijing in 2001 and Kyoto in 2003. The proposed treaty, as outlined in the attached paper, will be concluded by seven regional countries ? four non-nuclear-weapon States (Japan, ROK, DPRK, Mongolia) accepting all the NPT obligations and IAEA safeguards, and three nuclear-weapon States (China, Russia, USA) confirming the so-called "negative security assurance", namely the promise not to use nuclear weapons or other weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States parties to this treaty as well as the NPT. A new revised version, incorporating various ideas and suggestions submitted by experts of regional NGOs, is being prepared and will be circulated to the panelists and interested participants in advance so that fruitful discussions may take place at the Beijing Conference.

One final mention about the panelists. Dr. Tuvshinbat of Mongolia is joining us for the first time (he attended the 2003 Kyoto Conference as an observer). He will represent his country which is celebrated internationally for its unique "non-nuclear status" as recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998. It is hoped that we will learn useful lessons from the experience of his country. All those who are interested in the current nuclear issues of Northeast Asia, particularly those on the Korean Peninsula, are cordially invited to join us in this important workshop.