Many experts are arguing for a phased solution for the North Korean nuclear issue. The basic road map that is suggested is to comprise with North Korea using a nuclear freeze, then to induce North Korea to denuclearize with incentives, and ultimately, de-nuclearize North Korea through verified economic rewards. These proposals assume that the denuclearization of North Korea is possible through dialogue and negotiation. However, in accordance with these arguments even if North Korea agrees to nuclear disarmament, the authenticity is unclear.
At present, North Korea has weapons-grade plutonium and enriched uranium, the necessary materials needed to produce nuclear weapons. Plutonium is nuclearized to be used as a weapons-grade nuclear weapon using fuel rods from nuclear reactors. For North Korea, it was after the inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1993 that it realised the extreme difficulty in deceiving the world about the use of plutonium. Thus, the plan became to produce nuclear material from enriched uranium.
In April 2003, a delegation of the US State Department visited Pyongyang and showed evidence of North Korea’s importation of enriched uranium production facilities to Kang Sok-ju, the First Vice Foreign Minister of North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kang did not deny these allegations and in fact declared that North Korea was capable of more which led to the US’ acknowledgement of North Korea’s enrichment of uranium.
North Korea’s activities of renaming high-strength specialized aluminium tubes and other parts from Germany and Eastern Europe as machine tools to secretly import into North Korea was revealed after the arrest of the German businessman involved and North Korea’s admittance in 2009 at the US-DPRK talks in Geneva. In 2010, North Korea showed its nuclear facility and its centrifuges to US nuclear scientist Dr. Hecker.
On February 12, 2013, North Korea carried out a third nuclear test and proclaimed that “the test was carried out in our style in a miniaturized, lighter and diverse manner.” And it is with this that North Korea announced to the world that it was in possession of not only plutonium but also weapons-grade uranium.
On January 6, 2016 Pyongyang declared that its fourth nuclear test was a ‘Hydrogen Bombs Test.’ Now it is no longer a secret that North Korea is in possession of plutonium and enriched uranium. However, the world will never know for sure how much enriched uranium has been produced by North Korea. In the end, if North Korea chooses to do so they can deceive the world and there is no way of revealing this.
Ultimately, from start to finish the Phased North Korean Nuclear Plan is not a transparent plan and it is actually a way of recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power.