October 27, 2021

That Time Bill Clinton Said North Korea Would Dismantle Its Nuclear Program

That Time Bill Clinton Said North Korea Would Dismantle Its Nuclear Program

So, by now, most of you have heard of the pending deal the West struck with Iran over its nuclear program. Guy examined the proposal over the past week. Israel still says the deal poses an existential threat to them, and that lifting the sanctions would allow Iran to continue funding its terrorist activities.

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration has been highly receptive over what’s been hashed out between Iran and the West.

“I’m convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies and our world safer,” said President Obama.

Let’s go back in time when then-President Bill Clinton praised the nuclear deal his administration made with North Korea in 1994 (via The Weekly Standard):

“Before I take your questions, I’d like to say just a word about the framework with North Korea that Ambassador Gallucci signed this morning. This is a good deal for the United States,” Clinton said at the press conference.”North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. South Korea and our other allies will be better protected. The entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons.

“South Korea, with support from Japan and other nations, will bear most of the cost of providing North Korea with fuel to make up for the nuclear energy it is losing, and they will pay for an alternative power system for North Korea that will allow them to produce electricity while making it much harder for them to produce nuclear weapons.

“The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments. Only as it does so will North Korea fully join the community of nations.”

Since then, North Korea acquired nuclear weapons capability, and has hundreds of ballistic missiles aimed at neighboring countries (via AP):

Nuclear-armed North Korea already has hundreds of ballistic missiles that can target its neighbors in Northeast Asia but will need foreign technology to upgrade its arsenal and pose a more direct threat to the United States, U.S. researchers said Tuesday.Those are the latest findings of a research program investigating what secretive North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability will be by 2020.

Unlike Iran, the current focus of international nuclear diplomacy, North Korea has conducted atomic test explosions. Its blood-curdling rhetoric and periodic missile tests have set the region on edge and there’s no sign of negotiations restarting to coax it into disarming.

For now, the emphasis is on sanctions and military preparedness. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits Japan and South Korea this week amid speculation the U.S. wants to place a missile defense system in South Korea against North Korean ballistic missiles, which Seoul is reluctant about as it would alienate China. The U.S. has already deployed anti-missile radar in Japan.

The North Korean Futures Project — a joint effort by the U.S.-Korea Institute at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and National Defense University’s Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction — is trying to shed some light on what kind of threat Pyongyang poses.

It may already be able to field a limited number of long-range Taepodong missiles in an emergency but they would be unreliable, vulnerable to pre-emptive strike and inaccurate, the analysis says.

Foreign assistance could be critical for overcoming the technological and engineering hurdles it now faces in developing better missiles, including progress on high-performance engines, heat shields, guidance electronics and rocket motors that use solid fuel instead of liquid fuel, it says.

And that’s become tougher as North Korea’s international isolation has intensified since its first nuclear test explosion in 2006.

That hasn’t stopped its nuclear program, although it remains unclear whether the North has been able to miniaturize a nuclear device to mount on a missile. According to a recent estimate by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, the North likely has enough fissile material for at least 10 weapons, and that could increase to between 20 and 100 weapons by 2020.

Saudi Arabia is cautiously optimistic about this deal. Foreign Affairs noted that they, along with Turkey and Egypt, have made it known that they would probably start their own nuclear programs should Iran acquire the bomb. Also, Israel would be ready to launch their nuclear weapons against a state that has on more than one occasion called for its annihilation.

Let’s see what happens.