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북한 핵실험: 파급효과

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개요

북핵문제는 2006년 10월 9일에 있었던 북한의 핵실험으로 그 문제의 심각성이 더욱 가중되었 다. 북한의 핵실험에 대한 전 세계적인 비난이 쏟아졌으며, 유엔 안전보장이사회에서는 핵실험 발표후 일주일도 지나지 않아 유엔 대북결의안 1718호를 만장일치로 통과시켰다. 또한 이번 핵실험은 북한의 유일한 동맹국이었던 중국마저 유엔제재에 동참하게 하는 등 유례없는 특단의 강경노선을 타게 하는 심각한 파장을 불러일으켰 다. 10월 31일 중국 베이징에서 북한과 미국, 중국이 비공식회담을 열고 6자회담재개에 합의 하였다. 북한의 복귀는 환영할만하지만, 북미간 대화가 성사되기까지는 시일이 많이 걸릴 전망이 다. 물론 중국의 이번과 같은 강력한 대응은 6자 회담에서 이전보다 더욱 많은 북한의 양보를 이 끌 수 있는 중요한 요소가 될 것으로 여겨지지만, 6자회담의 관건은 미국이 예전보다는 훨씬 더 구체적이고 흥미를 느낄만한 메뉴(a far more specific and appetizing menu)를 협상 테이블 위에 올려놓아야 한다는 것이다.

핵실험 이후, 유엔 안정보장이사회에서는 발 빠 르게 대북제재결의안을 발표하였지만, 대북제재 수위를 놓고 중국, 러시아, 한국, 미국, 일본의 입장차이가 다르게 나타났다. 이것은 6자회담의 순탄한 진행이 어렵다는 것을 보여준다. 또한 각 국가마다 북한 핵위기에 대한 평가와 관심이 다 르게 나타나고 있다. 중국, 러시아, 한국은 제한 된 제재를 바라지만 미국과 일본은 엄격한 강제 를 바라는 입장이다.

북한의 안보를 가장 위협하는 국가는 미국이다. 하지만 북한이 핵무기를 쉽게 포기하지 않을 것 으로 보인다. 부시 대통령은 전임 대통령때 이루 어진 북미 양자간의 직접대화가 효과가 없었다고 밝혔으며, 6자회담을 통한 북핵문제해결의 정당 성을 강조하였다. 6자회담은 북핵문제를 북미 간 문제가 아닌 동북아지역문제로 확대하여 미국 의 책임과 부담을 경감시켰으며, 미국은 6자 회담의 우산 속에서 양자대화가 가능하다고 보고 있다. 하지만 6자회담이 북한과 대화할 수 있는 유일한 채널이 되어서는 안 될 것이다.

10월 31일 베이징에서 북중미 수석대표들이 만 나 6자회담의 재개에 합의했고 회담에서 북미는 양자회담을 통해 금융제제문제 등을 논의키로 하 였다. 그리고 미국은 6자회담을 성공적으로 이 끌고 북한의 체면을 세워 주기 위해 다음과 같은 과제를 해결해야 할 것이다.

  • 6자회담을 추진하고 북미 양자간대화에 관 한 전권을 지닌 대북특사의 임명.
     
  • 북한이 핵프로그램을 폐기하면 유엔 안전 보장이사회와 대북제재를 완화하는 시간표 를 다시 논의.
     
  • 인권, 마약, 위폐, 미사일 등 부차적인 문제 가 아닌 핵문제에만 집중할 것.
     
  • 북한이 핵폐기에 나설 경우 받을 대가에 대 한 구체적인 내용 제시.
     
  • 중국과 유엔 안보리 결의1718호의 이행 의지를 논의해 분명한 제재 의지를 밝혀야 함. 그러나 새로 시작한 6자회담 당사국 들과의 마찰을 빚어서는 안 됨.

 

서울/브뤼셀, 2006년 11월 13일

I. Overview

The North Korean nuclear standoff entered an even more troubling phase with Pyongyang’s test of a nuclear device on 9 October 2006. Condemnation was nearly universal, and the UN Security Council moved quickly to pass Resolution 1718 unanimously less than a week later. The test stirred China to take an unusually strong line against its ally, joining UN sanctions and dispatching a senior envoy to Pyongyang. On 31 October, after talks in Beijing with the U.S. and China, Pyongyang agreed to return to the six-party talks. The resumption of a diplomatic process is welcome but will likely face the same pitfalls as earlier rounds in which progress was undermined by a lack of clear understandings between North Korea and the U.S. While the six-party talks are a useful forum, resolving the nuclear issue will also require committed bilateral negotiations that address in detail North Korea’s security concerns and U.S. demands for complete disarmament and intrusive verification. China’s strong response may prove to be a major new factor pressing North Korea to offer more concessions in the talks, but only if the U.S. is prepared to set the table with a far more specific and appetizing menu than it has thus far.

Although the Security Council was quick to impose sanctions on North Korea, differences immediately appeared in the interpretation of the resolution, with China, Russia and South Korea favouring more limited action and the U.S. and Japan pushing for tough enforcement. This exposed the weakness of the six-party structure; each government supposedly arrayed against North Korea has different interests and varying assessments of the urgency of the situation. South Korea and China view North Korea’s stability as their paramount concern. The U.S. and Japan worry about nuclear and ballistic missiles as well as nuclear proliferation, human rights and kidnappings. Russia has generally sided with South Korea and China, preferring the issue be resolved between Washington and Pyongyang directly.

North Korea’s major security concern is the U.S. Unless this concern, whatever its origins, is addressed, the regime is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons. President George W. Bush has said that bilateral talks with North Korea did not work in his predecessor’s administration. In fact, they achieved a welcome delay of some years in the nuclear program and are a significant tool for dealing with Pyongyang. The six-party talks can provide an essential umbrella for bilateral discussions and a mechanism through which to establish broad international backing for an eventual agreement but they should not be the only channel for dealing with the North Koreans.

The meeting in Beijing that led to the planned resumption of the six-party talks in effect demonstrated the utility of direct talks. It remains to be seen, however, whether the U.S. is prepared to alter its stance significantly so as to demonstrate persuasively to its partners that it is going the extra mile to offer North Korea both a substantive and a face-saving basis for reversing its decision to defy the international community by developing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. should:

  • appoint a full-time senior envoy for North Korea, as suggested by Congress, who should be empowered to oversee all issues relating to that country and to negotiate both at the six-party talks and bilaterally;
     
  • agree with the Security Council a timetable to ease sanctions if North Korea meets requirements to freeze its nuclear program and readmit international inspectors;
     
  • focus on the nuclear issue, even if this means postponing other important concerns including human rights, drugs, counterfeiting and missiles, since priority must be placed on the most serious risk;
     
  • provide North Korea with a detailed plan of the steps it must take to end its weapons program and what benefits it will receive in return, including a response to North Korea’s basic security and regime preservation concerns; and
     
  • discuss proliferation risks in the region with key powers, especially China, with whom a broad dialogue on nuclear and other security issues is required, and ensure an understanding among them about the implementation of Resolution 1718 sufficient to keep pressure on North Korea, without causing splits among those involved in the renewed six-party talks.

Without more flexibility from Washington and Pyongyang, a breakthrough is likely to prove elusive whatever forum is used. The North may not be willing to forego nuclear weapons regardless of the incentives and disincentives presented to it. It may be dragging out the talks to have time to develop more and better weapons. However, we will not know unless Washington sits down with the North to address the regime’s deep-seated security anxieties. Crisis Group outlined a plan in 2003-2004 containing a series of steps by North Korea to freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program, with each phase followed by increasing security guarantees, diplomatic recognition and financial aid. This remains the best way forward.[fn]See Crisis Group Asia Report N°61, North Korea: A Phased Negotiation Strategy, 1 August 2003, and Crisis Group Asia Report N°87, North Korea: Where Next for the Nuclear Talks, 15 November 2004.Hide Footnote

Seoul/Brussels, 13 November 2006

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