Attachment B: Responses from Bong Hyun Kim

Recommended Citation

"Attachment B: Responses from Bong Hyun Kim", Supporting Documents, July 05, 2011,

Attachment B: Responses from Bong Hyun Kim

Bong Hyun Kim 

Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs, MOFAT

Republic of Korea

Prepared remarks for

Is a Nuclear-free East Asia Possible? Opportunities and Constraints,

6th Jeju Forum Panel, May 28, 2011


1. Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism

In the 21st century where the structures of the Cold War have been dismantled and international cooperation among major powers is strong, countries seem to be less concerned with conventional inter-state nuclear war than with nuclear terrorist attacks.

The U.S., Russia and China do not seem to feel threatened by nuclear weapons programs of Iran and DPRK, as the three are capable of massive retaliation against any kind of nuclear attack. Instead, it is perhaps the threat of a terrorist attack within their territories that most concerns the major powers. The U.S. fears the possibility of nuclear materials being illicitly trafficked from Pakistan, Iran or DPRK to terrorist groups, in particular Al-Qaeda, and eventually being smuggled into U.S. territory.

In light of such emergence of a new spectrum of security threats, the four wise statesmen – George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn – have asserted that relying on nuclear-weapons-related deterrence strategy is becoming increasingly risky and may even lead to lethal consequences. They contend that the reduction of nuclear weapons and deterrence with assured security should form the basis of national security policies, rather than mutual destruction.

Against this backdrop, the concept of nuclear security is becoming an increasingly important issue for nuclear states. President Obama drew the attention of world leaders to the danger of nuclear terrorism and initiated the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010. At the Summit, world leaders agreed to protect nuclear and radiological materials and nuclear facilities from terrorists.

The Nuclear Security Summit is significant in that it addresses the threat not addressed by the NPT regime. The proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology, which is the primary concern of the U.S. and other states, is less likely to occur between states than from a state to a group or an individual; the Nuclear Security Summit specifically deals with the latter type of nuclear proliferation.

2. What Is The Implication Of The Fukushima Accident To The 2012 Seoul Summit?

The first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, which was held in Washington D.C., mainly focused on the protection of nuclear materials and facilities from an individual or groups with malicious intent. Leaders agreed to focus on enhancing capacities to prevent, detect, and disrupt the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials to further nuclear security.

The Summit highlighted international cooperation among states in the nuclear security area, emphasized the role of the IAEA, and stressed the importance of the universalization of international regimes such as the CPPNM and ICSANT, as well as promoting nuclear security culture.

As such, the Nuclear Security Summit was initiated to tackle the issue of nuclear security. However, the Republic of Korea, as host of the 2012 Summit, believes it necessary to take up, in consultation with other participants, the issue of the safety of nuclear power plants as well.

While the damage to the Fukushima power plant was caused by an earthquake and tsunami, the possibility that the same consequence can be incurred by non-natural causes of malicious intent calls for nuclear safety to be addressed within the framework of nuclear security. This could be complemented by discussions on baseline safety measures and the interface of nuclear safety and security.

If we fail to address the problem of the safety of nuclear power plants, it will be a hard blow to the peaceful use of nuclear energy as a clean energy source that can reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

3. What Is the Implication Of the 2012 Seoul Summit for DPRK’s Nuclear Program?

The Washington Summit avoided addressing nuclear nonproliferation issues such as DPRK’s nuclear program. NAM countries were adamant in their stance that the issue should be addressed within the NPT regime, stressing that the Nuclear Security Summit was not meant to be a forum for such discussions. It is therefore difficult for the Seoul Summit to include the DPRK nuclear issue in its agenda.

Yet the problem of the physical protection of nuclear facilities and materials within DPRK should be included in the discussions at the Seoul Summit in the general context of nuclear security, taking into account the emphasis put by the first Summit on the state’s responsibility for physical protection.

As it was agreed at the first Summit to not specify the name of an individual country, DPRK cannot be stated by name in the Seoul Communiqué. Rather, DPRK’s nuclear program can be addressed in a side event outside the context of the Seoul Summit. It is in this vein that President Lee invited Kim Jong-Il to the Summit on condition that DPRK complies with international obligations outlined by the Six Party Talks, NPT, and UNSCR.

If Kim Jong-Il accepts President Lee’s invitation and decides to participate in the 2012 Summit, it will render the Summit more meaningful in various ways, as an important step towards a better relationship between the two Koreas, the denuclearization of DPRK, and ultimately permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula.