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Title A Five-Phase Roadmap for Denuclearization and a Peace Regime on the Korean peninsula Date 2019.09.11

Tae-Hwan Kwak(Former President of KINU, Chair Professor, Kyungnam University )

Attach IFES Forum No 19-09-11.docx
The current situation around the Korean peninsula is unprecedentedly dangerous and severe in Northeast Asia, with the negative impact of the US-China trade dispute and the economic dispute between South Korea and Japan, as well as the deeper military confrontation between the US, China, and Russia. The Moon Jae-in government is facing two “wars” at the same time: The South Korea-Japan dispute and North Korea’s hostile behavior. Thus, the future of the Korean peninsula is uncertain. Nevertheless, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un are still willing to continue dialogue and negotiation.
North Korea has conducted short-range ballistic missiles and new weapons tests, strongly condemning the ROK-US joint military exercises on August 5-20, 2019.  After the joint drill was over, North Korea tested a “new” super-large multiple rocket launch system under Chairman Kim’s guidance, on August 24, sixth round in August 2019, thereby sending hostile signals to the United States. The new weapon system may pose a security threat to South Korea's defense. With a range of at least 400 kilometers, the "super-large" multiple rocket launch system puts South Korea's core strategic defense facilities within its reach.[i]
Denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since the no-deal breakdown of the Hanoi summit in February. However, President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to restart working-level talks within 2-3 weeks at the Panmunjom meeting on June 30. The talks were expected to be held in mid-July, but they have not taken place amid tensions caused by the North's recent missile and projectile launches and the joint ROK-US military drill.
In early August, President Donald Trump said Chairman Kim made a "little apology" in a letter to him for testing short-range missiles and promised that the testing will stop after the end of the military exercise. As the joint military exercise was concluded last week, Washington and Pyongyang might soon resume their stalled denuclearization talks. However, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and called him "the diehard toxin of the U.S. diplomacy" for hampering talks between the US and North Korea. As of this writing, the resumption of working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang appears to be cloudy.
The basic goal of this article is to propose a five-phase roadmap for the denuclearization and a peace regime on the Korean peninsula.[ii] The revised version of the author’s three-phase roadmap for building a denuclearization-peace regime was published in 2018.[iii] However, the author needs to revise the three-phase one, because the US demanded the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, nuclear facilities, long-range missiles, as well as weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Trump’s ‘big deal’ proposal at the second US-DPRK summit in Hanoi.  The author’s new  five-phase roadmap initiative is summarized as follows.
Phase 1Phase 1: Defining Denuclearization and Agreement on Denuclearization Roadmap
A clear definition of the denuclearization needs to be agreed at the US and two Koreas trilateral meeting.[iv] The next step is to take the gradual phase-by-phase approach.  First, the end state of the denuclearization will be the final goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. It should be a prerequisite for denuclearization because it involves North Korea's willingness to dismantle all its nuclear materials, nuclear facilities, and long-range missile carriers.
The search for an exit strategy is essential to the complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. It is therefore imperative that “Three Party Talks” involving the U. S., the ROK and the DPRK be convened to agree on an implementation roadmap for the denuclearization and a peace regime on the Korean peninsula. It is also desirable that the ROK government be willing to take initiatives to persuade President Trump and Chairman Kim to take a new, innovative approach to the denuclearization and a peace regime.
Phase 2: Dismantlement of Yongbyon Nuclear Facility and Resumption of Kumgangsan Tourism and Reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex
Negotiations are premised on the principle of giving and taking. TThe voluntary dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities promised by Chairman Kim Jong Un to President Moon and President Trump should take place first. In return, the US and the ROK will resume the Mt. Keumgang tourism and reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
At the same time, the additional sanctions relief needs to be discussed in exchange for the dismantlement of additional nuclear facilities other than the Yongbyon area, nuclear material,
and long-range missiles sites and mobile launch vehicles, and so on.  Also, the US, China, and the two Koreas will discuss a peace regime issue, including a declaration of ending the Korean War and eventually concluding a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula signed by the four parties.
Phase 3: Demolition of WMD and Diplomatic Negotiations to Normalize the US-DPRK/Japan-DPRK Relations
At the second US-DPRK summit in Hanoi, the United States officially proposed dismantling biochemical weapons and WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), an idea initially put forward by White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, but since then became Washington’s official position.  
At this phase, the US and Japan should discuss normalization talks with the DPRK, and first establish liaison offices in Pyongyang, Washington, and Tokyo. 

Phase 4: Normalization Relations Treaty Signed between the US, Japan, and North Korea and the Four-Party Peace Treaty Talks

Once US-DPRK/Japan-DPRK diplomatic relations are established, it means that the cross-recognition between the two Koreas and the four major powers in Northeast Asia would be completed. This will stabilize the Northeast Asian security system by maintaining a balanced-power relationship around the Korean peninsula.

The four-party peace talks among the US, China, South, and North Korea at this phase will almost come to the conclusion of ‘the Korean Peninsula Peace Treaty’ replacing the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement.

The long-stalled Four-Party Talks need to be resumed to establish an everlasting peace regime on the Korean peninsula.  At the same time, the US-DPRK normalization treaty and Japan-DPRK normalization treaty will need to be signed to complete diplomatic cross-recognition among the six states (the U. S, China, Japan, Russia, and two Koreas) in Northeast Asia.

The four-party peace talks among the US, China, South, and North Korea at this phase will almost conclude ‘the Korean Peninsula Peace Treaty’ replacing the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement.
Phase 5: Complete Denuclearization in Exchange for a Korean Peninsula Peace Treaty
A peace treaty is more binding than a peace agreement to establish an everlasting peace regime on the Korean peninsula, so in-depth research and thorough preparation are necessary for the conclusion of a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula. The author has already proposed a "Peace Treaty on the Korean peninsula" as an exit strategy.[v]
To persuade North Korea to achieve the "complete denuclearization," the North Korean regime will be legally and internationally guaranteed if the two conditions set out by Chairman Kim Jong Un are met. Those conditions are (1) No US hostile policy toward North Korea; (2) Security guarantee on North Korean system.  A "Korean peninsula Peace Treaty" signed by the US, China, and two Koreas will satisfy Chairman Kim’s two conditions for the complete denuclearization or FFVD (Final, Fully Verified Denuclearization).
The Korean Peninsula Peace Treaty will be signed by the US, China, and the two Koreas, replacing the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement with the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. In the Korean peninsula peace treaty, there will be four attached agreements: (1) the ROK-DPRK Peace Agreement, (2) the US-DPRK Peace Agreement, (3) the ROK-China Peace Agreement, and (4) the US-China Peace Agreement.  Along with this, the status of the USFK (US Forces Korea) should be transformed into a multilateral international peacekeeping force. The United Nations Security Council will endorse the peace treaty, which will be registered with the UN Secretariat. In this way, the treaty will become a part of international law. The complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be achieved in exchange for the conclusion of a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula.  A permanent peace regime without nuclear weapons will be established legally and internationally on the Korean peninsula, which will lay a foundation for peace in Northeast Asia.
As discussed above, the author presented a new, creative roadmap for a denuclearized peace regime on the Korean peninsula and argued that several underlying conditions must be met. The most significant variables among them are the will of the South and North Korean leaders, and the four major powers’ intention to build a peace regime. The other core variable is the US-China conflict structure, which serves as the biggest obstacle to the denuclearization and the peace-building process.
Finally, the DPRK should not again launch even short-range projectile, which could disrupt the denuclearization-peace process. Regrettably, the DPRK has refused to engage in constructive dialogues with the ROK and the United States. The DPRK needs to understand that there will be no solution to its security and economic issues without effective negotiations between the US, the DPRK, and the ROK. Thus, the author sincerely urges the DPRK to immediately engage in the denuclearization negotiations with the United States and the ROK. We hope that a denuclearized peace regime on the Korean peninsula would soon be established. <The End>

Dr. Tae-Hwan Kwak, Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University, former President of KINU (Korea Institute for National Unification), Chair-Professor and former Director of IFES, Kyungnam University, is a specialist on Northeast Asian affairs, inter-Korean relations, and Korean peace and unification issues. He taught international relations over thirty years in at Eastern Kentucky University and Korean universities. Dr. Kwak is a recipient of the Global Peace Foundation's 2012 Innovative Scholarship for Peace Award. He has worked more than fifteen NGOs. He is now Chairman, Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies. Chairman of the Korean Peninsula Unification Council through Neutralization, Executive Adviser of Korean-American Public Action Committee (KAPAC), and President of Korean Unification Strategies Research Council (LA, USA). Dr. Kwak is the author, editor, and co-editor of 31 books, including One Korea: Visions of Korean Unification (Routledge,2017), etc.  He has authored more than 300 articles and is a freelance writer for Korean daily newspapers, monthly magazines, and the Internet.
[i] Koh Byung-joon, “N. Korea says t tested new super-large multiple rocket launcher,” Yonhap News Agency, August 25, 2019.  https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190825000353325?section=nk/nk (accessed date: August 25, 2019).
[ii] For a detailed analysis of an original three-stage roadmap for denuclearization and a peace regime, see Tae-Hwan Kwak, “In Search of Denuclearization and a Peace Regime on the Korean peninsula,” Journal of Peace and Unification, Vol. 6, No. 2, Fall 2016, pp. 1-22.
[iii] Tae-Hwan Kwak, "Inter-Korean Relations: From Nuclear Confrontation to Peaceful Coexistence," Korean Journal of Security Affairs, 23-1 (June 2018), pp. 21-41.
[iv] The US and the DPRK have different definitions of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. For details, see Daryl G. Kimball & Kelsey Davenport, “Paths forward on Action-for-Action Processes for Denuclearization and a Peace Regime for the Korean peninsula,” Arms Control Today, Vol. 11, Issue 3, January 29, 2019.  https://www.armscontrol.org/issue-briefs/2019-01/paths-forward-action-action-process-denuclearization-peace-regime-korean (Accessed on February 21, 2019).
[v] For further details of DPRK’s perspective on a US-DPRK peace treaty, see Choe Chang Man, The Conclusion of a Peace Treaty: The North Korean Perspective (Institute for Security & Development Policy, Stockholm, Sweden, 2010). http://isdp.eu/content/uploads/publications/2010_choe_the-conclusion-of-a-peace-treaty.pdf (Accessed on April 21, 2019).