Russian Nonproliferation Policy and the Korean
One of the key challenges of our time is the
threat posed to the security of Northeast Asia by North Korea's
nuclear proliferation. Efforts to resolve this problem through the
medium of a six-party negotiation are proceeding with great difficulty.
As in any multilateral process, a major problem is understanding
the goals and perspectives of each of the participants. One of those
participants is Russia, and this monograph focuses upon Moscow's
perspectives with regard to North Korea's nuclear program and Russia's
own standing in Northeast Asia. This monograph makes a valuable
contribution to the debate or analysis of the difficult issues connected
with North Korea's nuclear proliferation because the views of Russia,
and of the other participants in those negotiations, unfortunately
are not well-known or readily available in the United States.
This monograph by two South Korean experts
on Russia was presented at a colloquium jointly sponsored by the
Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the U.S. Army War College;
the Ellison Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian
Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University
of Washington; and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Pacific
Northwest Center for Global Studies. Entitled "The U.S. and
Russia: Regional Security Issues and Interests," the conference
was held in Washington, DC, from April 24-26, 2006. It represents
part of SSI's efforts to provide strategic leaders with analysis
and background on major trends in international security.
Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr. Director Strategic
Russia is one of the members of the six-party
talks on North Korean nuclearization, but its views on how to deal
with this problem do not agree with those of the U.S. Government.
This signifies a gap between Moscow and Washington over the proper
way to deal with proliferation and represents a change from the
earlier pattern of bilateral cooperation in 1987-96 that led to
significant achievements in the field of arms control and nonproliferation.
We may attribute the major differences between
Moscow and Washington to several factors, but two stand out here.
One is that Moscow prefers a different model of resolving proliferation
issues than Washington apparently does. Moscow's preferred option
is the so-called Ukrainian model, whereby the proliferating state
is induced to relinquish its pursuit of nuclear weapons through
a multilateral negotiation in which it receives both economic compensation
and security guarantees from its partners. This is what happened
with regard to Ukraine's inheritance of thousands of Soviet intercontinental
ballistic missiles (ICBMs) after 1991. The second model, apparently
preferred by the United States, is the so-called Libyan model which
is based on the experience of unrelenting coercive diplomacy, including
sanctions and possible threats of actual coercion, until the proliferating
state gives in and renounces nuclear weapons in return for better
relations with its interlocutors.
In the case of North Korea, Moscow believes
that the Ukrainian model is the way in which the negotiators must
proceed if they wish to bring this issue to a successful resolution.
Seen from Moscow, the United States appears to be more inclined
to choose, instead, the Libyan model based on its policy of threatened
regime change, coercion, sanctions, etc. This disparity between
Pyongyang's intransigence and America's inclination to coercion,
which reinforces the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK)
stance, is viewed as a major reason for the current stalemate.
The second explanation for the gap between
the Russian and American posture on this issue is that Russia has
arrived at a definition of its interests in Korea generally, and
even more broadly in Northeast Asia, that is premised on a formally
equal relationship and engagement with both Korean states, even
though obvious economic considerations lead it to be more involved
with the Republic of Korea (ROK). This effort to achieve balanced
relations also is connected to the idea that such a stance enhances
Russia's standing in the Korean question in particular and more
generally throughout the region, and the most important goal for
Russia is to be recognized as a player with legitimate standing
in any resolution of Korean security issues. After that, it is important
to prevent a war from breaking out, as well as the nuclearization
of the Korean peninsula. And beyond these considerations of status,
prestige, security, and interest, comes the fact that Russia wants
very much to play a major economic role with both Koreas in regard
to transport networks, provision of energy, and overall economic
development of both states. Indeed, Russia has offered to provide
North Korea with nuclear and other energy sources once it gives
up its weapons program as part of a multilateral agreement.
These considerations lead Russia to oppose
much of the U.S. position in the six-party talks and to incline
towards China and South Korea, which is trying to maintain and extend
its sunshine policy towards the DPRK. Taken together, the impact
of differing interests and perspectives with regard to the best
way to deal with proliferation explains, to a considerable degree,
the divergence between the Russian and American positions in these
talks, and why Moscow has taken the stands that it has in those
RUSSIA-U.S. RELATIONS AND THE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION
Since the end of the Cold War, there have been
several significant achievements in international security regarding
nonproliferation issues. The Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) system
was extended permanently in 1995 and developed into the central
form of multilateral cooperation in nuclear security. The most significant
achievement of the NPT in the 1990s was that France and China joined
the 189 other countries of the world by signing and ratifying the
NPT. The impetus that made this possible was the denuclearization
of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet
Union. Of course, such an achievement resulted from cooperation
for nonproliferation between Russia and the United States.
Russia not only inherited the Soviet's pro-Western
diplomatic strategy and accepted the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
(START) II-a new U.S. proposal of nuclear arms control-but also
continued to support U.S.-led policies such as economic sanctions
on Iraq and NATO's military intervention and arms embargo in Yugoslavia.
In its urgent need for the economic reform of the newly established
state, Russia pursued an "economic goals oriented diplomacy"
designed to get the Western world's economic support and incorporate
itself into the international economic society, inevitably leading
to the pro-Western foreign policy, with emphasis on the United States.1
It was also necessary that the United States closely cooperate with
Russia in the short term by supporting President Boris Yeltsin's
transition effort to continue nuclear weapons reduction and nonproliferation
and to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet republics.
Mutual cooperation for strategic stability
of nuclear weapons was a legacy from the Cold War era, but it also
has been an important issue between the United States and Russia
in the post-Cold War era. Accordingly, they kept up the START I
signed on July 30, 1991, and proceeded to a higher level of nuclear
arms reduction treaty. In December 1991, the United States passed
the Nunn-Lugar Act that provided economic support to the four former
Soviet Republics for the reduction and security of nuclear weapons,
material, and facilities.2 Ukraine,
Belarus, and Kazakhstan essentially inherited tons of nuclear material
and weapons and facilities after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The United States and Russia, concerned about the proliferation
of "loose" nuclear material and weapons, sought to devise
ways to deal with the unaccounted nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Belarus,
and Kazakhstan, which resulted in signing the protocol regarding
strategic nuclear weapons at Lisbon, Portugal, on May 23, 1992.
This protocol made Russia the only nuclear power in the former Soviet
regions, and other republics transferred their nuclear weapons to
Russia or dismantled them within a certain period and joined the
NPT. This has been regarded as a great achievement of nuclear nonproliferation
through U.S.-Russian cooperation. These efforts led to the U.S.-Russian
nuclear agreement when Yeltsin visited Washington, DC, in June 1992,
and fueled the START II negotiations to develop the strategic partnership
between the two.3 The Clinton administration
also actively supported those efforts to strengthen the strategic
alliance and strategic partnership with Russia in order to prevent
Russia's failure to reform and consequent international instability
and to construct an international regime to solve nonproliferation
and other international issues.4
U.S.-Russian cooperation was essential in maintaining
the nonproliferation regime after the Cold War, and this achievement
became the backbone for the development of the regime in the 1990s.5
Moreover, the renunciation of nuclear programs in South Africa,
Brazil, Argentina, and Libya proved the success and necessity of
the nonproliferation regime. Thus the NPT became an important factor
in that nonproliferation regime. It is clear that U.S.-Russian cooperation
played the most important role in this achievement. Both during
and after the Cold War, U.S.-Russian cooperation had played a central
role in nonproliferation, not only at the global level, but also
at the regional level in Europe and Eurasia.
However, despite all the success and achievements
of the NPT, optimism about nuclear security is disappearing. Alexei
Arbatov has stressed that although nonproliferation of WMD made
great strides right after the Cold War, the current NPT system and
other nuclear and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) treaties are
out of date, and that WMD have proliferated widely because of regional
conflicts and the weakening of the great powers' influence in international
conflict.6 The United States tried to
construct a new international order in the mid- 1990s based on its
hegemonic power status in the post-Cold War era, but U.S. efforts
to expand NATO ignored Russia's diplomatic and security interests
and weakened the U.S.-Russian alliance. In 2001, the Bush administration
renounced the Anti-ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, emphasizing American
national interests and alliance partnership based on the "strong
power." This change threatened Russia's deterrence based on
the concept of nuclear mutual destruction due to Russia's continuing
arms reduction, and made Russia more dependent on its nuclear deterrence
capability. Therefore Russia extended the operational service life
of its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Yet the Bush
administration subsequently attempted to accelerate the development
of a missile defense (MD) system, contributing further to deteriorating
U.S.- Russia relations.7
The weakening of U.S.-Russia cooperation at
the regional level since the late 1990s made it difficult to maintain
a multilateral basis for dealing with nuclear proliferation, and
this led to the failure of the U.S. and Russian policy against nuclear
proliferation. The United States strengthened its unilateral security
policy based on its power rather than upon multilateral security
cooperation, and, in this situation, the United States and Russia
could not reach an agreement on nuclear issues.8
As the initial optimism of the 1990s faded, the permanent members
of the United Nations (UN) Security Council could not cope with
WMD proliferation properly, and failed to prevent the efforts of
India, Pakistan, Iraq, and North Korea to develop WMD. In addition,
they disagreed on policies toward Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, showing
a lack of common interest and perception.9
Under such circumstances, India and Pakistan
undertook nuclear tests and became de-facto nuclear powers with
intermediate range ballistic missiles. Moreover, the danger of super-terrorism
with terrorist groups' possible use of nuclear weapons increased.
Iran, Iraq, and North Korea purchased nuclear technology and equipment,
and their nuclear program seriously challenged the international
nonproliferation regime. Thus, it becomes more and more necessary
to develop new cooperation to face these challenges.10
The Iranian and North Korean Nuclear Issues.
Specifically, the United States and Russia
have displayed different perspectives on the Iranian and North Korean
nuclear problems. To analyze these differences, it is necessary
to look at three models that help to understand the disagreements
between Russia and the United States: 1) the Ukrainian model that
achieved nonproliferation through compensation; 2) the Libyan model
that achieved nonproliferation through nonmilitary sanctions; and
3) the Iraqi model that removed the nuclear danger through military
The Ukraine Model. The main feature of the
Ukrainian model can be characterized by active U.S.-Russian cooperation
and diplomatic settlement of the problem of potential diffusion
of nuclear weapons. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine
possessed 130 SS- 19 and 46 SS-24 ICBMs, approximately 3,000 strategic
nuclear weapons, and 600 cruise missiles, making Ukraine the third
nuclear power. The United States and Russia persuaded Ukraine to
give up its nuclear weapons through compensation, so the Ukrainian
congress ratified the NPT in November 1994 based on the Lisbon Protocol.
Its last nuclear warhead finally was transferred to Russia in June
1996, with U.S. compensation for this process. This agreement exemplifies
the positive-sum game of nuclear nonproliferation that satisfies
the involved parties.11
The Libyan Model. However, such a model could
not be applied to other cases. Libya had carried out an anti- Western
policy based on its seventh largest petroleum production in the
world, and tried to develop nuclear weapons for the purpose of securing
its position in North Africa and the Muslim world, preparing for
U.S. attack, and for defending against a war with Israel. In 1979
Libya imported a nuclear reactor from Russia for research purposes
and maintained nuclear cooperation with Russia until 2002. In reaction
to Libya's effort to develop WMD, the United States passed the "Iran
and Libya Sanction Act" in 1996 and imposed nonmilitary sanctions
by suspending Libya's foreign trade. Before this, the UN Security
Council accused Libya of terrorism and passed Resolutions 731, 748,
and 883 in 1992 and 1993, imposing nonmilitary sanctions. Such sanctions
hugely damaged the Libyan economy, and Libya finally ended the UN
sanctions only after promising to compensate for the Pan Am terror
victims in 2003. Especially after the Bush administration took office,
the United States took a resolute attitude on the war on terrorism
and classified Libya as a target state for preemptive nuclear strikes.
After 9 months of negotiations and contact with the British intelligence
agency, Libya finally gave up its nuclear weapons program on December
19, 2003, immediately before the U.S. attack on Iraq.12
In short, in this model the United States achieved its objective
of nonproliferation without Russia's active objection by putting
pressure on Libya through nonmilitary sanctions applied through
the UN Security Council and by increasing the threat of preemptive
The Iraqi Model. The Iraqi model is an example
of using military means. The UN Security Council already had passed
Resolution 687 in 1991 and imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. The
UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) also had gone through 250 field investigations
by December 1998, removing 48 long-range missiles and 690 tons of
materials for chemical weapons. However, even after those investigations,
economic sanctions were not lifted, UNSCOM withdrew its investigation
team, and the United States and the United Kingdom (UK) bombed the
suspected WMD facilities in Baghdad. Afterward, the Bush administration
announced its warning of a preemptive strike on September 20, 2002,
and delivered an ultimatum on November 8, 2002. The UN Security
Council supported the United States with Resolution 1441, increasing
the possibility of military action, and Iraq finally agreed to accept
the UN Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)
and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigations. However,
those investigations found no evidence of Iraq's nuclear program.
In spite of Saddam Hussein's claim of there being no nuclear program
in Iraq, the investigation team's request for a cautious reaction,
and the objections of Russia and other UN Security Council members,
the U.S.- led coalition invaded Iraq. By doing so, the coalition
forces completely removed any hint of Iraq's nuclear development.
Nonetheless, despite the large British participation in Iraq, the
U.S. attempt at nonproliferation through military force largely
has been viewed as a unilateral action.
Today the problem is that the United States
and Russia disagree on exactly how to resolve the Iranian and North
Korean nuclear issues. Especially regarding the North Korean nuclear
issue, the United States favored the Libyan model, while China favored
the Ukrainian model. China appeared to believe that the Ukrainian
model might persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program
by providing a multilateral security guarantee as well as economic
compensation. But Russia seems to have some ambivalence between
these two models.13
This monograph tries to answer the questions
of what the difference is between the U.S. and Russian positions,
and what lies behind Russia's ambivalent position, given that Russia's
nonproliferation policy is affected deeply by its relations with
the United States. In particular, it is important to understand
why Russia's general principles of nonproliferation are not applied
consistently at the regional level. Therefore, this monograph will
address such issues as where and why the United States and Russia
agree or disagree on the North Korean nuclear issue and nonproliferation
on the Korean peninsula, and will identify the characteristics and
causes of Russian nonproliferation policy toward Northeast Asia.
In addition, this monograph will show how the Russian position is
reflected in the six-party talks for the second North Korean nuclear
crisis and will clarify the significance and constraints of Russia's
nuclear nonproliferation policy in the Northeast Asian context.
PROLIFERATION PROBLEMS IN NORTHEAST ASIA
Although the United States and Russia agree
on the goal of nonproliferation as a general principle, they disagree
on dealing with specific cases. After President Vladimir Putin took
office, significant changes took place in Russia's national security
strategy based on the reevaluation of various factors like the expansion
of NATO, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty and construction
of missile defenses, and terrorism.14
Due to the ensuing security perception of the occurrence of fundamental
changes in its strategic environment, Russia pursued a series of
security and foreign policies to seek a new strategic balance in
the U.S.-led world order and tried to strengthen its position and
the possible benefits that thereby might accrue to it.15
Iran and North Korea highlight the dual-sided U.S.-Russian relations
of cooperation and competition in nuclear nonproliferation.
In the Iranian case, Russia's position is pretty
clear.16 Russia seems to have a good
reason to support Iran's position. Russia not only has $800 million
of economic interest in building the Bushehr nuclear plant, but
also regards the Iranian case as a means to achieve its global policy
goal of WMD nonproliferation. Moreover, given Iran's rising significance
in the Middle East, Russia's cooperation with Iran will improve
its geostrategic position against the United States. Washington
is well aware of this and also seems to understand that Russia's
supply of nuclear technology will not affect Iran's nuclear armament
directly.17 Given Iran's increasing
national power, strategic importance, possession of petroleum and
natural gas, and potential market, Washington would not allow Russia
to use Iran in its attempt to increase Russia's influence in the
Middle East and Central Asia. However, despite Iran's dependence
on Russia for nuclear reactors and conventional weaponry, the Putin
administration has not been able to get much of what it wants from
Tehran. Moscow's conviction that Russia can exploit the Iranian-American
rivalry is in reciprocal proportion to Tehran's exploiting Moscow's
sense of rivalry with Washington.18
Thus Russia's cooperation and confrontation with the United States
over Iran must result from its geostrategic and economic considerations.
In that case, what policy does Russia pursue between North Korea
and the United States? In fact, North Korea does not appear to bring
as much economic benefit to Russia as Iran does. If so, why does
Russia support North Korea's position? During the Brezhnev era,
the Soviet position on security issues on the Korean peninsula and
Northeast Asia was affected by the need for a regional security
regime mirroring the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
(CSCE) and resulted in several nuclear free zone proposals for Northeast
Asia. After the Soviet Union proposed the establishment of an Asian
Collective Security System in 1969, Gorbachev suggested several
collective security regimes such as "Comprehensive International
Security System," "Asian version of Helsinki conference,"
and "All Asian Forum." These proposals can be summarized
as the Soviet Union's efforts for "stability and settlement
of peace in Northeast Asia through multilateralism." After
the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has pushed continuously
for the establishment of multilateral talks to resolve Northeast
Asian security issues. President Boris Yeltsin also proposed to
establish a multilateral negotiation and regional risk-management
system for Northeast Asia when he visited Korea in November 1992.
In March 1994 during the first North Korean nuclear crisis, Russia
proposed eight-party talks; including North and South Korea, Russia,
the United States, China, Japan, the IAEA, and the UN Secretary
General, emphasizing its position as a member of Northeast Asia.
In addition, Russia proposed 10-party talks (North and South Korea,
5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, Japan, the UN Secretary
General, and the IAEA Secretary General) for the Korean peninsula
that would include general and working-level meetings.19
Most recently, regarding the second North Korean nuclear crisis,
Alexander Losyukov, Deputy Minister of the Russian Foreign Ministry,
proposed six-party talks in October 2002 to create an environment
for the resolution of the issue.20
Thus, Russia has shown a consistent position on a Northeast Asian
multilateral security system.
However, the rise of China and the subsequent
changing balance of power, the most important change in Northeast
Asia in the post-Cold War era, is posing a great challenge for Russia.
Because the United States will pursue policies cautiously to balance
against the rising challenger, China also is very cautious in its
policies. In fact, the Bush administration does not consider Russia
a serious enemy at this point. Assuming there will be no major war
for hegemonic change in Eurasia at least for a generation, it apparently
concluded that the potential threat referred to as the "hydraulic
pressure of geopolitics" is moving toward East Asia.21
Although there were major wars in this region in the last century,
there exists neither a regional security system nor a system of
institutionalized regional cooperation. Especially because the conflicting
interests of major powers exist in this region, the United States
believes that it has a special stake in maintaining its regional
hegemony. Furthermore, a serious militarization is going on in the
region.22 In light of these geopolitical
changes, Russia, for its part, felt a need to increase its weakening
influence and renew its presence in Northeast Asia. In fact, Russia
assesses that its influence in this region has diminished as similarly
occurred throughout much of Europe after NATO's expansion. After
all, Northeast Asia is searching for a new balance of power due
to the rise of China, and this makes it difficult for regional powers
to decisively choose one or another policy.
In addition, the issue of nuclear proliferation
is very important in Northeast Asia. Setting aside the two North
Korean nuclear crises, the largest two major nuclear powers-the
United States and Russia-are involved deeply in this region, and
China is trying to raise its nuclear capability. This condition
may make vertical nuclear proliferation more serious in this region.
Moreover, Japan and South Korea possess enough capability of potential
nuclear armament and have a special interest in North Korea's nuclear
program. Thus, if North Korea becomes a nuclear power, Northeast
Asia is more likely to experience serious vertical and horizontal
nuclear proliferation.23 Such a situation
will not only cause instability in Russia's eastern border but also
give Russia the extra burden of adapting itself to the new competition
for nuclear weapons.
Russia's Northeast Asia policy cannot but be
influenced by its various geostrategic interests, such as relations
with major powers like the United States, China, and Japan and its
complex calculation regarding the two Koreas, as well as by its
own political and economic factors. All these make Russia's nonproliferation
policy for this region very complex.24
In the "Foreign Policy Concept of the
Russian Federation" released in June 2000, President Putin
stated clearly that Russia's Korea policy would focus on guaranteeing
Russia's equal participation in the Korean issues and maintaining
balanced relations with both North and South Korea.25
This policy intended to focus on economic cooperation with South
Korea and on political and security cooperation with North Korea.
Putin attempted to regain Russia's strategic position on the Korean
peninsula by restoring Russian-North Korean relations rather than
hurting Russian-South Korean relations. In short, Putin's Korea
policy was based on a practical policy line to overcome Russia's
dilemma by pursuing the "causal benefit" to expand its
political role on the Korean peninsula and the "practical benefit"
to secure economic gains by strengthening political and security
ties with North Korea on the basis of a "New Russia-North Korea
Friendship Treaty" and increasing economic cooperation with
What does Putin try to achieve through such
an equi-distance foreign policy on the Korean peninsula in the 21st
century? First, the central issue in East Asia for Russia is to
ensure its position and restore its influence on the Korean peninsula.
Because Russia shares its Eastern border with the peninsula, the
peninsula always has been included in Russia's national interest.
Therefore Russia is determined to play a central role in resolving
the Korean issue.26 Russia's national
interest in the Korean peninsula can be defined clearly by Korea's
significance as a strategic point in Northeast Asia, i.e., a geostrategic
gate connecting the continent and the ocean.27
In order to restore its influence and build a geopolitical context
(favorable for Russia) in Northeast Asia, Putin needed a strong
diplomatic effort to build up an influential position on the peninsula.
Russian strategists like Andrei Voznensky commented on the geopolitical
significance of the Korean peninsula:
The situation on the Korean peninsula is
not only a simple political problem, but an important nexus to
decide the flow of international security, politics, diplomacy,
and economics in the Asian-Pacific region in the future. Therefore,
the state which is not involved in the Korean issue will be excluded
from East Asian affairs.28
In other words, Russia's failure to be involved
in Korean issues would mean giving up its influence on the entire
Asia-Pacific region. So it is very natural that Russia regards diplomacy
related to the Korean peninsula as a "nerve center" of
Russia's Northeast Asia strategy.
Thus, Russia's key security interest on the
Korean peninsula is to form a peaceful and stable peninsula, which
can help Russia to focus its own domestic reform. Russia's security
goals on the Korean peninsula can be summarized as preventing direct
military conflicts between the two Koreas or military conflicts
caused by the intervention of a third party, and as checking overconcentration
of the armed forces there. The former objective aims to remove the
security cost produced by the military instability on the Korean
peninsula, and the latter goal intends to prevent the domino effect
in the Northeast Asian arms race that seriously may destabilize
Russia's Far East security.
Second, Putin's political interest on the Korean
peninsula is to be involved in moderating Korean issues and, if
possible, Northeast Asia's balance of power, consequently strengthening
Russia's geopolitical position according to its national interest.
Third, Putin's Russia sets four economic goals
on the peninsula.29 The first goal
is to make the Korean peninsula a bridgehead for Russia to make
its way into the Asia-Pacific economy. As a Eurasian country, Russia
seeks a balanced development of eastern territories beyond the Urals
and influence in Asia. By increasing cooperation with South Korea,
which has a significant geopolitical position in the region, Russia
attempts to enlarge its field of activity into the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) forum, and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia
and the Pacific (ESCAP) and to strengthen its position in the Asia-Pacific
region by joining the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).30
The second goal is to open markets for Russia's
competitive products such as energy resources, high- tech weapons,
and nuclear technology. The third goal is to develop an economic
partnership for the development of Russia's economic "desert,"
Siberia and the Russian Far East. From the standpoint of national
development strategy in the 21st century, Russia actively pursues
projects to develop the large oil and gas resources in Siberia and
the Far East. Given the geopolitical competition with Japan and
China, Russia regards South Korea as an important source of capital
and technology for the exploitation of resources and economic revitalization
in this area and encourages South Korea's large-scale economic cooperation
The fourth goal is to extend the final destination
of the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR), the Eurasian land- bridge of
transportation, to the South. Russia recently has emphasized the
connection of Trans-Siberian Railway and Trans-Korean Railway (TKR).
Russia once stated, "We are willing to invest more than one
billion dollars on the TSR-TKR connection project," and made
diplomatic efforts to persuade two Koreas to connect the main course
of TKR to TSR along the east coast of Korea line.32
In fact, Putin's new equidistance diplomacy,
provided by the normalization of Russia-North Korean relations,
helped Russia recover its geopolitical position on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea provides important geopolitical leverage for Russia
to control the situation on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
In the future, Russia may demand more reward from South Korea by
using Russian- North Korean relations, and if the reward does not
meet its expectations, Russia may use diplomatic resources that
South Korea does not want to see. This option may include sales
of high-tech weapons and military support for North Korea. However,
Russia has more diverse and important political and economic interests
with the South than with the North, and is less likely to provoke
the South. If Russia inevitably has to give military support to
the North, it is more likely to limit the support to defensive weapons,
considering the strategic stability on the Korean peninsula, and
even in this case, it will demand hard currency based on their history
of reciprocity.33 Here we can see a
facet of Russia's dilemma in Northeast Asia. In short, Russia apparently
pursues the equi-distance policy toward the two Koreas based on
the separation of economy and politics, but in reality it cannot
help but maintain a Southern bias based on realistic calculations
of national interest. Russia needs to cooperate with South Korea
for its national projects, such as energy development in Siberia
and the Far East, the connection of TKR and TSR, its access to the
Korean weaponry market that the United States has monopolized, its
entry into world economic organizations, and, finally, its security
interest in the six-party talks and multilateral security system
in this region.
Thus, Russia will face numerous complex issues
in Northeast Asia in case of military tension caused by the North
Korean nuclear crisis. Russia's worries primarily begin with the
fact that unlike Iraq, North Korea shares a 19km border with Russia
and is affected directly and structurally by the stability of Northeast
Asia. First of all, a nuclear North Korea may threaten the strategic
stability of Northeast Asia and Russia's Far East security by sparking
the chain reaction of nuclear armament by potential semi-nuclear
powers like Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, and providing an excuse
for the development of U.S. missile defense systems and Japan's
rearmament. In short, Russia cannot but worry about the arms race,
the change of regional security order, and unstable relations in
this region that may be caused by North Korea's possession of nuclear
weapons. Furthermore, Russia has strategic concerns about a military
conflict on the Korean peninsula that it can neither ignore nor
fail to get involved in. Unless Russia gives up North Korea, it
inevitably will have to deal with the deterioration of relations
with the United States, but North Korean refugees in the Far East
also will be troubling politically for Russia.34
If the United States performs surgical strikes on the Yongbyon nuclear
facilities, radioactive fallouts potentially can be a disaster for
East Asia. In the economic sphere, conflicts on the Korean peninsula
will hurt Russia's two important national projects of energy development
in West Siberia and the Far East and the TSR-TKR connection.
In conclusion, as Russian Vice Minister of
Foreign Affairs Alexander Losyukov once stated, "Military conflict
in the Korean peninsula is not conducive to Russia's national interest."35
A military conflict on the Korean peninsula resulting from the North
Korean nuclear crisis is a worse-case scenario for Russia. Russia
currently regards stability at its borders as the central issue
of its foreign policy in East Asia in order to secure its domestic
dynamics, such as the consolidation of democracy, development of
a market economy, and political and social stabilization. For Russia,
which seeks a peaceful regional environment, the North Korean nuclear
issue is one of the focal points of its foreign policy. Russia cannot
sit back as a passive spectator regarding the North Korean nuclear
issue because it needs to eliminate the security cost caused by
military instability on the Korean peninsula; recover its national
pride, which was hurt by being left out of the four-party talks
during the Yeltsin era; and balance against U.S. hegemonic behavior
in the region.36 This explains why
Russia was the first nation that proposed to be an active moderator
when the second Yongbyon crisis might have invited a possible U.S.
preemptive military strike on the North.
SIX-PARTY TALKS AND RUSSIA'S DILEMMAS
Russia's reaction to the second North Korean
nuclear crisis was to secure its national interest, but Russia also
had other dilemmas. In fact, after the Putin administration took
office, Russia's North Korea policy became more active than before.
However, Russia's gains have been marginal thus far. For instance,
President Putin visited North Korea during the missile crisis in
2000 and spoke for the North Korean position at the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa
Summit 2000, a clear shift of Russia's foreign policy in Northeast
Asia toward a more active role. Since then, Russia has supported
North Korea's position on the nuclear issue, despite suspicion of
the North's nuclear program by surrounding countries. When U.S.
special envoy Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly announced
in October 2002 that North Korea admitted its nuclear development,
Russia showed a neutral position, demanding that the United States
provide the "hard evidence" and that North Korea explain
the suspicion. However, after North Korea admitted its development
of nuclear weapons in the three-party talks in Beijing, Russia's
effort to mitigate tensions went in vain, resulting in a diplomatic
crisis. President Putin had persuaded the West to believe that North
Korea could be a trustworthy partner and keep their international
agreements, and had built the framework to resolve the North Korean
nuclear issue since 2000, but North Korea's pronouncement of the
nuclear development made Russia's position awkward. The critics
in Russia charged that the North Korean pronouncement made President
Putin's policy related to the North useless and increased distrust
for Russia. A report published by the Foundation for Prospective
Studies and Initiative argued that, if North Korea does not give
up its nuclear program, Russia should participate in the international
sanctions on North Korea to save Russia's reputation.37
Likewise, the reaction of Russia to North Korea, which had nullified
Russia's attempt to strengthen its position in Northeast Asia, has
a double side, and makes Russia's first dilemma between a hard and
soft reaction to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
However, Russia's immediate official reaction
focused on North Korea's intentions and the capability of its nuclear
program. And in this situation, Russia overcame the first phase
of its dilemma, successfuly redefining its role as the "honest
broker." That is because Russia recognized through its communication
channels and information that the purpose of the North Korean nuclear
program was not to secure nuclear deterrence, but to pursue a "regime
So Russia dispatched Vice Minister Losyukov
to Pyongyang as a special envoy in January 2003. He listened to
the North's opinion and proposed a "package deal" as the
solution for the issues. This was Russia's first response to the
North Korean nuclear issue as an active moderator that listened
to Kim Jong- il and other high-ranking officials and delivered the
North's position to South Korea, the United States, China, and Japan.
In this process, Russia presented both the package deal and the
"collective security assurance" plan. The package deal's
main points were that: 1) both the United States and North Korea
observe such obligations as the North-South Joint Declaration on
the Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the Agreed Framework
of Geneva, 2) the United States and North Korea resume bilateral
and multilateral talks and provide security assurance for the North
through these talks, and 3) the United States and other countries
resume humanitarian and economic support to the North. The point
about a collective security assurance plan can be understood especially
as a compromise, since a U.S.-North Korean nonaggression pact actually
is impossible to achieve.39
Russia's official position on this issue became
clear when Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met with Maurice Strong,
UN special envoy on the North Korean nuclear program, in March 2003.
Foreign Minister Ivanov emphasized that Russia's proposal for the
package deal is the only solution to the crisis and insisted that
the international community maintain a "cautious and balanced
approach." Emphasis was put on the denuclearization of the
Korean peninsula through North Korea's observation of the NPT, acceptance
of the IAEA's inspections, and on the peaceful political-diplomatic
resolution of the crisis through direct U.S.-North Korean talks,
rather than through a military approach.40
There are two implications of this argument. First, Russia agreed
to North Korea's position that the North Korean nuclear issue should
be resolved between the United States and North Korea. However,
Russia made an official announcement that it "objected to North
Korea possessing nuclear weapons, and at the same time to U.S. military
pressures on North Korea."41 This
Russian position shows Russia's second dilemma on the issue. Though
Russia does not want nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula,
it must moderate the negotiations and advocate the North's concern,
and therefore cannot merely follow U.S. initiatives on economic
and military sanctions.42
Russia's proposal implies that it already had
acknowledged, through its steady connection with the North, that
North Korea had developed nuclear programs against a security threat
from the United States, and also believed that bilateral talks should
come before a U.S. security assurance. Therefore, Russia now urged
direct U.S.-North Korean dialogue along with China-contrary to its
previous policy. While Russia complained strongly when it was excluded
from the previous four-party talks, it accepted that the Beijing
three-party talks on April 23-25, 2003, did not include Russia,
and understood that the Beijing talks constituted a direct U.S.-North
Korean dialogue mediated by China. However, Russia consistently
insisted that bilateral talks between the United States and North
Korea or the three-party talks including China are not enough to
build a fundamental solution to the issue and, therefore, the talks
should develop into six-party talks that would include other regional
powers, such as Russia, Japan, and South Korea.
After the United States rejected direct dialogue
with North Korea, the DPRK stated on May 25, 2003, that it might
accept a U.S. proposal for multilateral talks. After July 23, it
officially informed the other countries of its acceptance of the
talks. In particular, on August 1, 2003, the Russian Foreign Ministry
announced the detailed North Korean position on multilateral talks
after consulting with North Korea's ambassador to Russia, Park Eui-chun.
Along with China, Russia played a very critical role in persuading
North Korea to accept the multilateral talks.43
China and Russia succeeded in persuading North Korea to understand
that the United States would not accept the nonaggression pact and
that North Korea needed the multilateral framework that would guarantee
the regime's survival through mutual compromise and agreement. In
this process, Russia appeared to succeed in carrying out its role
as a moderator, overcoming the second aspect of its dilemma.
Russia's third dilemma is that North Korea
proposed to include Russia in the crisis solution process. It was
not the United States, but North Korea that insisted on including
Russia in the six-party talks. The United States tried to isolate
Russia from the North Korean nuclear issue. Just as it excluded
Russia from the four- party talks in 1994, the United States left
out Russia and tried to expand the three-party talks into the five-
party talks that included North and South Korea, the United States,
China, and Japan.44 Of course, the
United States opened the possibility of including Russia, but this
depended on whether Russia was willing to agree with the U.S. preference,
namely the Libyan model of denuclearization. Though South Korea
did not object to Russia's exclusion, North Korea wanted Russia
to be involved in the multilateral process. Because of Russia's
active effort as a moderator, North Korea insisted on Russia's joining
in the talks, and the United States accepted.
In fact, after the United States decided on
the five- party talks, China sent Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo
to Pyongyang and urged Kim Jong-il to accept the five-party talks.
However, Kim Jong-il rejected the five-party talks and insisted
on holding six-party talks. Though Russia disapproved of North Korea's
nuclear development, North Korea believed that Russia would support
their position and lobby the United States on its behalf. Furthermore,
Kim Jong-il called President Putin in July 2003 and asked Russia
to join in the six-party talks and host the meeting. President Putin
agreed to join in the six-party talks, but refused to host the meeting
because of continuing Chinese efforts to mediate between the United
States and North Korea.45 By including
Russia in the process, North Korea expected Russia to check the
U.S. hard-line policy and support North Korea's position. However,
Russia did not wish to take the hosting role because Russia's in-between
position was limited by its previously described dilemma. Instead,
Russia supported China's hosting role for the talks.
Russia's goal was to convince North Korea to
give up its nuclear program by delivering the North's position,
providing partial support for the North and urging the United States
to cooperate. Of course, this goal resulted from Russia's complex
calculation of its position. Russia's position can be summarized
as follows. First, Russia has a right to participate in the process
of resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis as a regional power.
Russia made its position clear by strengthening its geopolitical
and geo-economic positions. Second, Russia made clear its objection
to the proliferation of WMD, including nuclear weapons on the Korean
peninsula. North Korean proliferation would hurt stability on the
peninsula and stimulate other nations' arms race, including Japanese
rearmament, threatening Russia's security in its Far East. Third,
Russia made clear its strong support for a peaceful resolution of
the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue. The outbreak of
conflict on the Korean peninsula would not only threaten Russia's
security but also hurt its national strategy of developing the Far
East and Siberia. Consequently, in order to accomplish Russia's
national strategy, the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear
crisis and stability on the Korean peninsula are necessary for the
development of the Far East and Siberia, regional economic cooperation,
and securing Russia's position as a regional power by connecting
East Asia and Eurasia.
Russia's achievements through the four rounds
of the six-party talks can be summarized as follows: First of all,
as mentioned before, the rapid development of Russian-North Korean
relations after 2000 appeared to have enabled the six-party talks
to occur. However, the six-party talks did not result directly from
the restored relations between Russia and North Korea, but from
Russia's positive image as an impartial moderator and its increased
influence on the North. Though President Putin's friendship with
Kim Jong-il may have been important, Russia's "persuasive power"
became more influential than its "coercive power" over
Second, Russia's role as an "honest broker"
should be recognized. Russia hopes that its role as a moderator
and its package deal proposal will play a critical role in the comprehensive
and gradual resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis. In particular,
Russia succeeded in communicating the North's position to other
countries and persuading them to enter into negotiations with North
Third, Russia prevented the rapid acceleration
of tensions and helped avoid conflict between the United States
and North Korea. After the U.S. disclosure of the North's nuclear
program in October 2002, Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov stated
that no conclusion should be given without hard evidence. Russian
nuclear energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev also denied North Korea's
capability to develop nuclear weapons.46
While the prospect for the second round of talks seemed uncertain
in October 2003, high-ranking Russian military officers stated that
North Korea was trying to develop nuclear weapons but did not possess
them yet.47 Russia's behavior can be
understood as its effort to check the U.S. effort to drive North
Korea into a corner. Russia's buffering role regarding the North's
nuclear program gave other countries more time to respond discreetly
to this issue, but it also may have impacted the denuclearization
of the Korean peninsula negatively by giving more time to the North
to continue proliferation.
Fourth, Russia has played a role as a safety
valve for sudden changes or military conflict that may result from
a second North Korean nuclear crisis, especially after the second
Bush administration upset North Korea with its reference to "ending
the tyranny," which hurt the six-party talks. As a result,
North Korea officially announced its possession of nuclear weapons
and refused to participate in the talks. Such statements that imply
regime change may worsen the North's perception of the United States.48
Russia continued to object to such negative statements, though it
acknowledges that changing the domestic regime is necessary for
the ultimate resolution of the Korean peninsula's problems. If North
Korea cannot change and join the international community, a crisis
may recur and threaten Russia's national security once again. However,
Russia prefers a gradual transformation over a sudden change through
military means and is, therefore, helping the North cooperate with
other nations, recover its economy, and obtain multilateral security
assurances. If North Korea starts even a minor military conflict
or the regime collapses, a large number of refugees may be produced
and Russia will have to deal with the consequences-leading to serious
instability in the region. As a result, Russia agrees with South
Korea in favoring a gradual change in North Korea.
Russia's achievements did not result entirely
from its opposition to the United States. As noted above, the United
States and Russia must cooperate with each other regarding the denuclearization
of the Korean peninsula. This cooperation is not fully comprehensive,
even though Russia once sent a message to North Korea drawing a
line on its nuclear activities. Russia's daily newspaper, Izvestiya,
reported before the first round meetings on a possible Russian preemptive
strike on the North Korean nuclear facilities.49
According to the report, many strategists argued that if Russia
sees indications of a North Korean attack or if there is some possibility
that North Korea will wage a nuclear war against the United States
and South Korea, Russia may need to perform a preemptive military
strike on North Korea through the Pacific fleet, because the North's
use of nuclear weapons on the South may result in serious pollution
and damage in the Far East. This can be interpreted as Russia's
warning against the North's possible renunciation of the six-party
talks and conduct of nuclear tests.
In addition, Russia carried out a large-scale
military exercise in August 18-27, 2003, for the first time in 15
years. One of the main purposes of this military exercise, which
was performed under a state of emergency in the Russian Far East,
was to gauge the ability to absorb an influx of hundreds of thousands
of refugees if war occurs.50 South
Korea and Japan also participated in rescue exercises and other
multipurpose exercises, including one called "TU-160."
Through this, Russia made clear its importance as a Northeast Asian
military power and sent a signal warning against the North's provocation
and America's use of force.51 This
was a strong expression of Russia's position regarding the Korean
issue and a significant effort to show its capability as a great
Fifth, Russia had worked like a coupling device
in the six-party talks by continuously insisting on a multilateral
approach to the Northeast Asian security. In fact, multilateralism
has not been realized easily in Northeast Asia. Strictly speaking,
the six-party talks cannot be labeled as a "multilateralism"
framework.52 However, it was more of
a multilateral experiment, with Russia playing a role as a coupling
device by repeatedly urging other countries to solve the difficulties
step by step. Russia's position on the creation of a Northeast Asian
multilateral security organization gradually took shape as a common
interest among regional powers and was reflected in the joint statement
of the fourth round of the six-party talks.
Thus, Russia's plans are to strengthen its
position as a regional power along with China in the six-party talks
and actively pursue a balance of power in the region. In this sense,
Russia seems sure that it will play an important role in long-term
regional stability. Even at the height of the North Korean nuclear
issue, Russia continued to argue for the denuclearization of the
Korean peninsula, for North Korea's observance of the Agreed Framework,
against a U.S. preemptive strike on the North, and for peaceful
resolution of the crisis through dialogue. Thus, the exclusion of
Russia from the Korean issue could be very detrimental to any multilateral
effort. It is quite controversial but thought- provoking to consider
B. I. Tkachenko's statement that "one of the most important
reasons for the collapse of the Agreed Framework was that Russia
was excluded from the process."53
Russia's policy toward nuclear issues on the
Korean peninsula can be summarized as follows. First of all, the
most important variable that determines Russia's nonproliferation
policy is its relationship with the United States. Russia has acknowledged
that its U.S. policy right after the Cold War was biased and since
has changed its foreign policy strategy. Such a change made Russia
pursue a new strategic balance with regard to its relations with
the United States. This is the basic factor that defines Russia's
nonproliferation policy. To pursue a new balance of power, Russia
shows balancing and bandwagoning simultaneously, and this made Russia
favor the multilateral approach to overcome its power disadvantage.
Such factors differentiate Russia's position from that of the United
States regarding both vertical and horizontal proliferation problems.
Second, Russia's goal of nuclear nonproliferation
cannot be defined in simplistic terms in Northeast Asia where a
new power dynamic is forming. The rise of China and America's new
Northeast Asia strategy give Russia a great challenge and opportunity.
Because Russia has an unstable place in this region, it tries to
use the nuclear issue to strengthen its position as a regional power.
Third, Russia pursues plans to develop the
Russian Far East and Siberia with projects of transportation and
energy development to secure a strong place as an Asian power. Such
non-nuclear issues greatly affect Russia's approach toward the Korean
peninsula, so Russia's Northeast Asia strategy is shaped by the
complex consideration of both military-political factors and economic
factors, leading to a nexus between nuclear and non-nuclear issues.
Fourth, Russia was caught in a dilemma due
to the second North Korean nuclear crisis. Russia agrees with the
United States in its objection to the proliferation of WMD, including
nuclear weapons, but it refuses to accept a hard-line policy toward
North Korea because it is afraid of losing a means to maximize its
interest in Northeast Asia. Because Russia believes that the weakening
of the NPT and subsequent horizontal proliferation are due mainly
to the United States, Russia cooperates with the denuclearization
of the Korean peninsula but objects to America's one-sided hard-line
Fifth, Russia also may face the dilemma of
losing both the peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue and North
Korean denuclearization if the six-party talks drag on, resulting
in a situation that is favorable to neither the United States nor
North Korea. Thus, Russia needs to create a consensus for making
a compromise with China and South Korea between the United States
and North Korea. In particular, Russia believes that North Korea
does not yet have nuclear weapons, so it supports the North's position
and cautiously attempts to regain its influence on the Korean peninsula.
This explains the reason for Russia's different
response from that of the United States regarding the second North
Korean nuclear crisis. While the first Bush administration tries
to use the Libyan model, North Korea favors the Ukrainian model
that China supports. In this process, Russia supports the Chinese
position and tries to strengthen its influence in Northeast Asia.
The Bush administration tried to form the "5
against 1" structure to pursue UN Security Council sanctions
following the Libyan model without much success for the following
reasons. First of all, China and Russia did not accept the U.S.
hard-line policy, and South Korea could not give up its engagement
policy toward the North that had been implemented since the Kim
Dae-jung administration began it in 2000, so the U.S. "5 against
1" structure did not succeed. If the United States could have
formed the structure and gotten UN sanctions, it might have pursued
the Iraqi model that shifts from economic to military sanctions.
Of course, if the six-party talks collapse and North Korea launches
a nuclear test, the U.S. plan may be realized. In case of a nuclear
test by North Korea, not only South Korea's position but also Russia's
place as an opportunistic moderator will be much weakened and China
will have some difficulty in supporting the North. However, because
North Korea is not likely to give up the six- party talks and cross
the "red line" that China does not support, this is less
likely to be the North's policy option.
Is the Ukrainian model that China and North
Korea pursue and Russia supports useful in reality? There are several
limitations in applying the Ukrainian model to North Korea. The
number of nations that are involved in the issue is different. While
the United States and Russia were involved in the Ukrainian issue,
there are six nations in the North Korean equation that have different
positions. Furthermore, while the United States and Russia cooperated
to persuade Ukraine together, the United States, China, and Russia
do not agree completely on this issue. Even if Russian and American
cooperation on nuclear reduction and control in the European context
could be (and were) negotiated bilaterally between Washington and
Moscow, regional arrangements in Northeast Asia only can be comprehensive
if China, with its nuclear and naval capabilities, is a part of
it.54 In addition, Russia and America
have different understandings of this nuclear crisis. While the
United States tries to regard North Korea's violation of the Agreed
Framework as a global issue related to the spread of terrorism,
China emphasizes North Korea's perception of security, ascribes
some responsibility to the United States, and argues for the need
for a Northeast Asian security system. Russia plays a mediating
role with South Korea that tries to harmonize two different positions.
As a result, the six nations' positions have shifted to a "2:2:2"
framework. These changes appears to have had some influence on the
second Bush administration. President Bush's mention of "Mr.
Kim" and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice's reference to
the DPRK as a "sovereign state" showed the beginning of
the change. Afterward, North Korea returned to the six-party talks
and resumed negotiations. Yet when the United States refused to
accept North Korea's peaceful use of nuclear energy and made it
difficult to achieve the agreement of "word for word"55
at the fourth round of the talks, Russia and China supported North
Korea and persuaded the United States to accept the compromise of
September 19, 2005. South Korea also supported this compromise and
cooperated to persuade the United States, making the formation "3:1:2"
or "4:2" and overcoming another hard time in the talks.
Such a complex mechanism of the six-party talks shows that the Ukrainian
model has some limitations in the Korean issue. Nonetheless, there
is always a possibility of a grand deal in which the United States
and North Korea will give and take more than expected.56
What North Korea demands for the dismantlement of its nuclear program
is assurance of regime and military security, the abandonment of
the U.S. hostile policy and the conclusion of a peace treaty, the
removal of North Korea from the list of states sponsoring terrorism,
economic support, and the normalization of U.S.-North Korean relations.
Their give-and-takes are not impossible, but what matters in the
six-party talks is how to make a compromise. Russia tries to shift
the approach of the talks from the Libyan model the United States
favors to the Ukrainian model for their compromise. The reasons
why Russia's argument eventually might be accepted by the United
States is that Russia is still a superpower with nuclear weapons
and that the United States also needs Russia's cooperation for the
maintenance of the nuclear nonproliferation system. This is the
critical factor by which Russia, along with China and South Korea,
can persuade the United States to make a concession in the six-party
talks. If Russia's goal is achieved, a new model of denuclearization
may be produced in which the moderator, not the parties concerned,
After the Joint Statement of September 19,
2005, the United States started to press North Korea through financial
sanctions, freezing North Korean accounts at Banco Delta Asia. Against
this measure, North Korea resisted opening a new round of the six-party
talks, officially pronounced its possession of nuclear weaponry
on February 10, 2006, and launched a missile test again on July
5, 2006. However, the United States did not cease its financial
sanctions, and North Korea ventured on with a nuclear test on October
9, 2006, as a sign of crossing the "expected" red line.
On the initiative of the United States and Japan, the UN Security
Council passed Resolution 1718 on October 14, 2006, which involves
nonmilitary sanctions. This move initially made the prospects for
the resumption the six-party talks very dim.
Russia once again moved quickly, as it did
at the first stage of the second North Korean nuclear crisis, dispatching
Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Aleksandr Alekseev to North Korea.
After his visit to Pyongyang, he stressed that possibilities still
exist for political resolution, and that Russia strongly opposed
military sanctions. Owing to the opposition from Russia, along with
China, the application of military means was excluded from the UN
resolution. But Russia cannot help taking part in nonmilitary sanctions
toward North Korea. This kind of Russian "dualistic" position,
as was elaborated in this monograph, still seems to continue without
As the Russian special envoy had predicted
the possibility of six-party talks reopening, North Korea agreed
to return to the talks on October 31, 2006. In spite of the significant
change of the situation after the nuclear test, a long and tiresome
tug-of-war between North Korea and the United States seems to be
in line. Russia can play its role of "honest broker" as
long as North Korea does not cross the "real" red line,
even though we cannot be convinced of its boundary, for example,
transferring nuclear technology and materials to terrorist groups
or other rogue states.
1. Official document of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation: "__ ________
__________ __________ ________ ________ ___________ _________"
("The Basic Formulations of the Concept of Foreign Policy of
the Russian Federation"), February 1992.
2. For details of the
denuclearization process in these states, see Protecting Against
the Spread of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons: An Action
Agenda for Global Partnership, Russian Perspectives and Priorities,
Vol. 4, Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies,
CSIS, January 2003.
3. Leszek Buszynski,
Russian Foreign Policy after the Cold War, London: Praeger, 1996,
4. Burns also characterizes
the Clinton administration's Russia policy as "engage policy"
and "incorporation policy." See Nicholas Burns, et al.,
"Three Years After the Collapse of the USSR: A Panel of Former
and Current Policymakers," Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 11, No.
1, 1995, pp. 2-3.
5. On the security cooperation
between U.S. and Russian development, see Michael Cox, "The
Necessary Partnership?: The Clinton Presidency and Post-Soviet Russia,"
International Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 4, 1994, pp. 635-637; Steven
Kull, "Cooperation or Competition: The Battle of Ideas in Russia
and the USA," in James E. Goodby and Benoit Morel, eds., The
Limited Partnership, Building a Russian-US Security Community, New
York: Oxford University Press, 1993, chap 12; Bill Clinton, "A
Strategic Alliance with Russian Reform," U.S. Department of
State Dispatch, Vol. 4, No. 14, April 5, 1993, pp. 191-192; Strobe
Talbott, "U.S. Must Lead a Strategic Alliance with Post-Soviet
Reform," U.S. Department of State Dispatch, Vol. 4, No. 17,
April 26, 1993.
6. Alexei Arbatov, "Horizontal
Proliferation: New Changes," Russia in the Global Politics,
Vol. 4, No. 6, 2004.
7. V. V. Zhurkin, et
al., Between the Past and the Future: Russia on the Transatlantic
Context, Moscow, Russia: 2001, pp. 136-139.
8. Alexei Arbatov and
Vladimir Dvorkin, eds., _______ ___________ _ ________________ (Nuclear
Deterrence and Nonproliferation), Moscow: Moscow Carnegie Center,
2005, pp. 12- 14; George Perkovich, et al., Universal Compliance,
2004, pp. 9-10.
9. Philip Saunders,
"New Approaches to Nonproliferation: Supplementing or Supplanting
the Regime?" The Nonproliferation Review, Fall-Winter 2001,
10. For example, see
George Perkovich, et al., Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear
Security, Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
11. Roman Ropadiuk,
American-Ukrainian Nuclear Relations, Washington, DC: Institute
for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, 1996.
12. Shannon A. Kile,
"Nuclear Arms Control and Non- Proliferation," SIPRI Yearbook
2004: Armaments, Disarmaments and International Security, Stockholm,
Sweden: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),
2004, pp. 617-619.
13. John S. Park,
"Inside Multilateralism: The Six-Party Talks," The Washington
Quarterly, Vol. 28, No. 4, Autumn 2005, pp. 84-85.
14. Cf. Celeste A.
Wallander, "Wary of the West: Russian Security Policy at the
Millennium," in www.armscontrol.org/ACT/ march00/cwmr00.htm;
Mark Kramer, "What is Driving Russia's New Strategic Concept?"
in www/fas.harvard.edu/~ponars/ POLICY%20MEMOS/Kramer103.htm; Nikolai
Sokov, "Russia's New National Security Concept: The Nuclear
Angle," in www. nyu.edu/globalbeat/nuclearCNS0100.html; Stephen
J. Blank, Threats to Russian Security: The View from Moscow, Carlisle
Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College,
15. An Agenda for
Renewal: U.S.-Russian Relations, A Report by the Russian and Eurasian
Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December
2000); "U.S. Russian Relations: A Turning Point?" Russia
Watch: Analysis and Commentary, No. 5, March 2001, pp. 1-8.
16. Vladimir A. Orlov
and Alexander Vinnikov, "The Great Guessing Game: Russia and
the Iranian Nuclear Issue," The Washington Quarterly, Vol.
28, No. 2, Spring 2005.
17. So Russian observers
opine that U.S. objection to Russia's assisting the Iranian nuclear
energy program are based not on security concerns, but on commercial
considerations. Mark N. Katz, "Exploiting Rivalry for Prestige
and Profit: An Assessment of Putin's Foreign Policy Approach,"
Problems of Post-Communism, Vol. 52, No. 3, May/June 2005, p. 30.
18. Katz, pp. 30-31.
19. Such a proposal
shows that the working-group meeting after the second round of six-party
talks has been raised by Russia. For Russia's proposals for multilateral
security system on the Korean peninsula, see Valentin Moiseev, "On
the Korean Settlement," International Affairs, Vol. 43, No.
3, Moscow, 1997.
20. Vladimir Kutakov,
"Russia offers Six-Party Discussion Format in Northeast Asia,"
ITAR-TASS, October 1, 2002.
21. Kun-Young Park,
"Bush Administration's East Asia Policy," State Strategy,
Vol. 7, No. 4, 2001.
22. Combined military
expenditures of the East Asian nations reached $U.S.165 billion
in the beginning of the 21st century, twice as much as in 1990.
The Asian share in military purchases from the U.S. military producers
rose from 10 percent to 25 percent of U.S. arms exports.
23. For nuclear armament
and capability of Northeast Asian countries, see Alexei Arbatov
and Vasily Mikheev, _______ _______________ _ ______-__________
____ (Nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia), Moscow: Moscow Carnegie
24. Vasily Mikheev,
"Multilateral Approaches to Peace Building in Northeast Asia:
Cooperation-Security Strategy," Proceedings of 2005 KAIS International
Conference, Non-Governmental Six Party Talks on Cooperation in Northeast
Asia: Issues and Agenda, Seoul, Korea, October 6-7, 2005.
________ ____________ __________, ________________ _______ (Concept
of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation Diplomaticheskii
Vestnik), ______ (Diplomatic Messenger), No. 8, August 2000.
26. Vladimir Tkachenko,
2000; "North-South Summit and Russia-North Korea Relations,"
KIEP World Economy, Vol. 3, No. 7, 2000.
27. Bom-Sik Sin, "________
______ _ _________ ___________ ___________ __ _____ 2-___ ______________
_________ _________ ______ _ ___ ________ ___ __________ _____"
("Russian Policy Towards the Korean Peninsula at the Time of
the Second Term of President Vladimir Putin and Its Significance
for the Republic of Korea), Korean Slavic Studies, Vol. 19, No.
2, 2004, pp. 675-710.
28. Daehan Maeil Daily,
February 19, 2001.
29. G. D. Toloraya,
"______-__________ _____: _____ _______ _ _____" ("Russia-Republic
of Korea: After the Summit of Seoul), ________ ________ _______
(Problems of the Far East), No. 2, 2001, pp. 14-19.
30. Alexandre Y. Mansourov,
"Russian President Putin's Policy towards East Asia,"
The Journal of East Asian Affairs, Vol. XV, No. 1, Spring/Summer
2001, pp. 42-71.
31. ______ _______
______ _________ ____________ ________ ____________ _________ (Resume
of the Report of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly
of the Russian Federation), "_________ ________ ______ _ ___
_ 21-__ ____" [__ ______ _____________ ______________ ______])
("Strategy for the Development of Russia in the APR [Asia-Pacific
Region] in the 21st Century [According to the Proceedings of the
Baikal Economic Forum]), from www.forum.baikal.ru/about/strateg.htm.
32. Bom-Sik Sin, 2004.
Besides, there are other economic policy goals such as the redemption
of the North Korean bond, the promotion of North-South-Russian triangular
cooperation to repair North Korean industrial facilities that the
Soviet Union had built, the construction of a natural gas pipeline
that goes all the way across the Korean peninsula, and South Korea's
participation in the free economic zone project for foreign companies
in Russia's Far East.
33. Putin's security
cooperation with North Korea focuses more on the "political
security cooperation" for deterring U.S. hegemonic behaviors
and strengthening its geostrategic position on the Korean peninsula
than the "military security cooperation" for providing
high-tech weapons. For example, when Kim Jong- il visited Russia,
Russia agreed with North Korea regarding observance of ABM, opposition
of MD, North Korea's insistence on the withdrawal of U.S. troops
in South Korea, and the emphasis on the peaceful purpose of North
Korea's missile development, but there was no military agreement
on sales of high-tech weapons. Russia's reluctance for military
security cooperation with North Korea is due to the North's inability
to pay and Russia's intention not to provoke the South.
34. G.D. Bulychev,
"__________ ________ ______: _______ ____________," ("Russia's
Korea Policy: An Attempt at Schematization,"), Problemy Dal'nego
Vostoka (Problems of the Far East), No. 2, 2000.
35. ITAR-TASS, January
36. _. V. Vorontosov,
"______ ____________" ("The War of the Compromises"),
2003, in north-korea.narod.ru/vorontsov.htm.
37. ______ _ ___:
2003 (Russia and the World 2003), Foundation for Prospective Studies
and Initiative, 2002 in www.psifoundation. ru/en/publications/russia-003/excerpts_from_the_report.html;
38. In the earlier
stages, nuclear weapons were considered by North Korean rulers as
an additional factor in the regional military balance on the Korean
peninsula. Now, after the overthrow by the United States and the
Western coalition of regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq through the
use of military means, nuclear weapons start to be perceived as
a "last resort guarantee" for the preservation of the
North Korean regime in the global correlation of forces. See Alexander
Nikitin, "Changing Priorities of the Russian Foreign Policy
and New Mechanisms for Security in Eurasia," The First KPSA-RPSA/MGIMO
Joint Annual Conference Proceeding, Korean-Russian Cooperation for
Peace and Prosperity in Northeast Asia, Seoul, Korea: Institute
of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), November 30-December
39. Izvestiya, January
40. "__ ______
______ _ ______ ____________ _________ ____________ _________ ___
__ ____" ("On the Results of the Visit to Moscow of M.
Strong, the Special Emissary of the General Secretary of the UN,
With Regard to the Korean People's Democratic Republic") _______,
_.: Informational Bulletin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
the Russian Federation, 546-06-03- 2003.
41. Vremya Novostei,
January 20, 2003.
42. On this difference,
see Alexander Zhebin, "The Bush Doctrine and Russia: A Great
Discord," Asian Perspective, Vol. 27, No. 4, 2003, pp. 147-181.
43. New York Times,
April 12, 2003.
44. Segyeilbo, June
45. Tadashi Ito, "PRC
Source Cited on Putin Rejecting Kim Chong-Il's Request to Host Talks
in Russia," Sankei Shimbun, September 9, 2003.
46. On North Korea's
nuclear development capabilities, see Larry A. Niksch, "North
Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program," CRS Issue Brief for Congress,
June 9, 2003; Alexandre Y. Mansourov, "The Origins, Evolution,
and Current Politics of the North Korean Nuclear Programs,"
The Nonproliferation Review, Spring-Summer 1995, pp. 25-38; S. A.
Letun, "The North's Capability of Developing Nuclear Weapons:
Russian Perspectives and Prospect," presentation paper at the
4th Korea-Russia Defense Conference co-hosted by Korean Defense
Institute and Military Academy of Russian Federation, Seoul, Korea,
November 27, 2003.
47. Even with regard
to North Korea's announcement of nuclear possession in 2005, Konstantin
Kosachev, Chairman of the Duma Committee on Foreign Relations, stated
that it cannot be verified, and Russian scholars believe that North
Korea's announcement is designed to get as much from the United
States as possible. According to the author's interview with Russia's
Korean and military experts, North Korea does not possess nuclear
weapons that the United States may have to worry about. This is
one of the most important differences between the United States
48. Haksoon Paik,
"What is the Goal of the U.S. Policy toward North Korea: Nonproliferation
or Regime Change?" at www. nautilus.org/fora/security/0530A_Paik.html,
May 8, 2005.
49. Oleg Zhunusov,
Elena Shesternina, "If Tomorrow There Is a War That in Two
to Three Hours' Time Involves Vladivostok," Izvestiya, August
50. Oleg Zhunusov,
D. Litovkin, "There Is Legend: State of Emergency Has Been
Introduced," Izvestiya, August 22, 2003.
51. Seung-Ho Joo,
"Russian Strategy for 6 Party Talks on North Korean Nuclear
Crisis," Kookbang Yeongoo, Vol. 47, No. 1, 2004, pp. 95-96.
52. Cf. John Gerald
Ruggie, "Multilateralism: The Anatomy of an Institution,"
International Organization, Vol. 46, 1992, pp. 561- 598.
53. V.P. Tkachenko,
"________ ________ ____________ ________ _ _____" ("The
Basic Elements of Russian policy in Korea"), _______ ________
______ _ ___ (Russian Foreign Policy in Northeast Asia), Seoul:
Hankook University for Foreign Languages, 2002, p. 13.
55. The Joint Statement
at the fourth round talks on September 19, 2005, can be evaluated
as the agreement of "word-for-word" for the next agreement
56. For the possibility
of such grand deal, see Michael O'Hanlon and Mike M. Mocizuki, Crisis
on the Korean Peninsula: How to Deal with A Nuclear North Korea,
New York: Mcgraw Hill, 2003, Ch. 3.
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