북한 핵무기 문제 해결과 관련해 중국의 역할이 제한적이라는 평가가 나오고 있는 가운데 미-러의 협력이 오히려 효과를 발휘할 수 있다는 분석이 제기됐다.
런던에 본부를 둔 국제전략연구소(IISS)와 모스크바의 에너지안보연구센터(CENESS)는 14일(현지 시간) 공개한 공동연구를 통해 북한이 왜 핵개발에 집착하는 지에 대한 역사적 배경과 국제정치와 관계를 살펴보고, 결국 미국과 러시아간의 협력구축으로 북한 핵문제를 어느 정도 해결할 수 있을 것이라고 강조했다.
DPRK strategic capabilities and security on the Korean Peninsula: looking ahead
Believing that Russian–US cooperation could play an important role in developing and implementing proposals for denuclearisation and creating lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies and the IISS undertook a joint assessment of North Korea’s progress in developing nuclear and missile capabilities and an examination of possible international steps towards a solution.
The spectre of nuclear war has haunted the Korean Peninsula for nearly seven decades. In November 1950, United States president Harry Truman publicly raised the option of using nuclear weapons in the Korean War. For about 40 years after the war, the US deployed several types of tactical nuclear weapons in the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea). The ROK and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) also launched their own nuclear-weapons programmes. While Seoul abandoned its dedicated weapons effort soon after ROK president Park Chung-hee was assassinated in October 1979, Pyongyang persisted, announcing its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003 and subsequently making rapid progress in building up nuclear and missile capabilities, while enshrining a nuclear-armed status in the country’s constitution. In September 2017, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test achieved a thermonuclear yield. Two months later, the DPRK launched a Hwasong-15 ballistic missile, which Pyongyang says is an intercontinental weapon system that can reach the entire US mainland. At that point, North Korea announced that its mission to build its nuclear forces was accomplished.
The year 2017 saw military escalation on the Korean Peninsula reach an unprecedented level in the post-Korean War period. Many analysts believed that the situation had become the most volatile since the 1968 USS Pueblo crisis, or even since the end of Korean War hostilities in 1953. Some experts drew parallels with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Given Russia’s historical relationship with North Korea and the US alliance with South Korea, Moscow and Washington have special roles to play in promoting stability on the Korean Peninsula.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council and depository states of the NPT, Russia and the US also bear special responsibility for upholding peace and international security. Their joint efforts, along with other major powers, were instrumental, for example, in resolving the crisis over the Iranian nuclear programme through the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015. Despite US president Donald Trump’s decision in May 2018 to take the US out of the JCPOA, the deal remains a model of what can be achieved through multilateral diplomacy, especially when US–Russian cooperation is harnessed to promote nuclear non-proliferation.
Similarly, should the key players demonstrate the political will to seek a sustainable solution to the security problems on the Korean Peninsula, Russian–US cooperation in a multilateral framework could play an important role in developing and implementing proposals. The opportunities are clear. For example, more than 67 years since the shooting stopped, the Korean War still remains officially unresolved. The Armistice Agreement of 1953 has yet to be replaced by a proper peace treaty or a more comprehensive accord.
In these circumstances, the Moscow-based Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) agreed in 2017 to conduct a joint assessment of North Korea’s progress in developing nuclear and missile capabilities. They also undertook to develop proposals on possible international steps to facilitate the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and create lasting peace and security mechanisms.
The two parties began their work in January 2018 and completed it in about 33 months. They received valuable assistance from a Russian working group led by CENESS and a US working group led by the IISS. The two working groups included former military officials, diplomats, nuclear specialists and scholars specialising in Korean studies. The two groups worked independently, then compared and consolidated their drafts. The results are summarised in this joint report prepared by the project co-chairs. All the contributing experts, listed in annexes one and two, participated in a personal capacity. The report does not necessarily reflect the views of all the experts involved in the study, or of the organisations they represent.
CENESS and IISS hope that the report will serve as a catalyst for further discussions between researchers and officials on possible measures to reduce tensions and nuclear-related risks and build confidence in the region. We also hope that the report will help to facilitate discussions on how to promote pragmatic and effective Russian–US cooperation, an aim which has also been emphasised by the leadership of the two countries.