April 2008 Monthly Forecast

ASIA

DPRK (North Korea)

Expected Council Action
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is expected to be on the Council’s work programme in April. The Chairman of the Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Marcello Spatafora of Italy, will provide a briefing during Council consultations on the issue. The Committee has been largely inactive since early 2007 after deciding to await the outcome of the six-party talks on the DPRK’s nuclear programme. The briefing is unlikely to contain any new information leading to Council action. However, the scheduled briefing may provide an opportunity for Council members to take stock of the wider political situation. A press statement on progress in the six-party talks is possible.

Key Recent Developments
The six-party talks among China, Japan, Russia, the US, DPRK (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) faltered at the end of 2007 when the DPRK failed to submit a full declaration about its nuclear programme as it had agreed. The meeting between the chief US and North Korean negotiators on 13 March in Geneva raised hopes for a breakthrough. However, it seems that little progress was made.

In exchange for closing down its Yongbyon nuclear reactor in July and providing a full accounting of its nuclear programme, DPRK was to receive 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil and 500,000 tons of fuel-oil equivalents. Pyongyang says it received 200,000 tons of fuel oil and “very little” of the fuel-oil equivalents. It seems the balance is being withheld pending delivery of the declaration.

The New York Philharmonic orchestra visited Pyongyang in February. Some considered it a small breakthrough—it was the first significant US cultural visit. However, subsequent routine military exercises between South Korea and the US drew sharp criticism from Pyongyang.

Options
The Council could:

Key Issues
The key issue is whether Council members see that they have a relevant role in helping to move the six-party talks forward. A related issue is whether signalling a possible review of sanctions may be a helpful incentive.

Council Dynamics
Council members are not particularly focused on this issue. For some time there has been little appetite for a more active role.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1718 (14 October 2006) expressed grave concern over the nuclear test by North Korea, imposed sanctions and set up the Sanctions Committee.
  • S/RES/1695 (15 July 2006) condemned North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles.

Selected Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2006/41 (6 October 2006) was the statement expressing concern over North Korea’s declaration that it would conduct a nuclear test.

Selected Letter

  • S/2007/778 (31 December 2007) contained the Sanctions Committee’s activities for the year 2007.

Other

 

Full forecast