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Situation in North Korea

United Nations Disarmament and International Security


Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) committee is the First Committee of the United
Nations General Assembly (GA). It includes all nations that are United Nations Member States.
The committee is designed to deal with issues related to global arms and security. The Illicit Small
Arms Trade, Conflict Diamonds, Nuclear Proliferation, and the security status of Refugees are all
examples of issues that have been discussed in the past at DISEC meetings; unfortunately they will
continue to be debated in the future. With the increase of weapons and growing security threats,
DISEC continues to grow in importance and become a significant part of resolving international

DISEC cannot require that countries take a specific action. However, the committee can make
recommendations to the Security Council about what should be done on a specific issue. Also, the
members of DISEC can create sub-committees and have studies conducted to evaluate a situation or
the effectiveness of a program.

Each member has one vote and resolutions are passed by a simple majority. However, since
resolutions in DISEC are not binding, it is very important that many countries agree to a resolution
for it to be effective


In December 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States of America formed a joint commission to
decide the fate of the Korean Peninsula. The commission decided to divide the Korean Peninsula at
the 38th Parallel, creating what are today known as North Korea and South Korea. North Korea
became a communist state while South Korea became a democratic state. The Soviets installed Kim
Il-Sung as the head of the Provincial Peoples Committee in 1945. By 1949, he had become a
communist dictator. He is known as the Father of the Koreans and the Eternal President of the
Republic. When he died in 1994, his son, Kim Jong-Il, assumed his fathers role as the Supreme
leader of North Korea.

North Korea is widely considered a threat to stability in Asia. It has been accused of manufacturing
counterfeit money and commercial products for the black market. Unconfirmed cases have also
been reported of North Korean diplomats being arrested for participation in international drug
sales. Such reports suggest that North Korea may be increasing its production and sale of heroin
and methamphetamines in order to finance the production of a nuclear weapons program. The
government has openly admitted to selling missile technology in defiance of international law. The
government has also admitted to kidnapping citizens of other countries, such as Japan.
Tension between North Korea and its neighbors, South Korea and Japan, is high. North Korea is
pursuing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs. In 2006, North Korea tested a
small nuclear weapon to show its status as a nuclear power. This event strained its already-fragile
diplomatic relationship with the rest of the world. In March 2010, a South Korean warship, the
Cheonan, was sunk off a disputed maritime border between North and South Korea. The
Government of South Korea determined that the ship was sunk by a missile from a North Korean
submarine, but the Government of North Korea denies this finding. Following South Korean
military exercises in November 2010, North Korea opened fire on South Koreas Yeonpyeon Island.
South Korea fired back in a clash that left two South Korean marines dead and several more
wounded; North Korean casualties are unknown. That same month, North Korean displayed its
newly-built uranium enrichment plant, despite international pressure to halt their nuclear

The international community believes that North Koreas nuclear weapons (and its black market
weapons program and drug trafficking) are a danger to Asia and the rest of the world. North Korea
insists the weapons are intended for defense only. How the international community responds to the
government of North Korea will impact the security of the region and the rest of the world.

Not much is known about the internal structure of North Korea since it is isolated from the rest of
the world. Very few visitors are allowed into the country and its citizens are not allowed outside the
borders of North Korea. Kim Jong-Il governs North Korea with an iron fist.


Nuclear Program
North Korea has had a nuclear program since the 1980s, even though North Korea was a member of
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, North Korea withdrew its support of the treaty in
2003 and accused the US of trying to impose tyrannical rule over North Korea through the treaty.
Between 1990 and 2005, the CIA received scattered reports that North Korea had begun to develop
a nuclear bomb. Some officials estimate that North Korea could have the capacity to develop 200
nuclear weapons by the end of the year 2015. North Korea has also developed short, medium, and
long range missiles. These missiles could reach the US (Alaska and Hawaii), South Korea, Japan,
and China. In response, the international community has imposed sanctions on North Korea. These
sanctions have not stopped North Koreas nuclear program.

Human Rights
North Korea is the most isolated country in the world. No one knows the true extent of human
rights abuses, but it can be assumed that the situation in North Korea is dire. Reports about the
situation come from defectors, or people who have fled, to China and South Korea and from
missionaries who prove aid. North Korea is suspected to have violated the following human, civil,
and political rights:
- Right to Free Speech: Freedom to speak and receive information without limitation of
censorship. North Koreas government violates this right through a heavily-censored and
limited media and severe punishments against families of defectors and those who speak
against Kim Jong-Ils regime.
- Right to Move Freely both within and outside of North Koreas Borders: North
Koreans are not free to live where they please and most especially, are not allowed to leave
the country. Anyone who does leave North Korea is seen as a defector and if they return to
North Korea, they will be sent to a prison camp.
- Right to Worship Freely: While North Korea claims freedom of religion and does allow
some religious worship, Kim Jong-Il forces the citizens of North Korea to worship him as a
general and his father as the Eternal President.
- Elections: North Korea has no elections, which is a violation of the political rights of North
Korean citizens. Kim Jong-Il inherited his position from his late father, and is taking steps to
ensure that his son will be the next ruler.
- Torture: North Korean citizens and their families are subject to torture if they violate the
laws of North Korea or anger Kim Jong-Il.

Prison Camps
Satellite images of North Korea confirm the existence of five prison camps. An estimated 200,000
people, North Koreans and some foreigners, reside in these prison camps. People can be sent to a
camp simply for listening to Western music. The conditions in prison camps are very poor. Prisoners
are forced to work 12 hour days with no breaks, little water and even less food. Prisoners that
attempt to escape are immediately shot.


In 2003, the IAEA adopted several resolutions calling for North Korea to comply with international
standards. When North Korea continued to ignore those resolutions, IAEA referred the situation to
the UN Security Council.

Meetings known as the Six-Party Talks (between North Korea, South Korea, the US, Russia, China,
and Japan) occurred over the following three years without resolution. The talks focused on ending
North Korea's nuclear program.

In July of 2005, North Korea tested seven missiles over the Sea of Japan. The US, Japan, South
Korea, and Australia immediately condemned the test as an act of provocation and South Korea
suspended food aid in protest. The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning
the tests and demanding that North Korea suspend all missile launches.

In October of 2006, North Korea announced it had conducted successful underground nuclear tests.
Russian and U.S. officials determined the blast to be less than 1 kiloton, a relatively small but still
very dangerous nuclear detonation. Again in May of 2009, North Korea conducted a successful
underground nuclear test. North Korea is now the ninth nation known to possess nuclear weapons.
The international community reacted with shock and outrage. The Security Council met and
unanimously issued a resolution condemning North Korea's actions. They also imposed sanctions
on North Korea, preventing the country from buying, selling, or receiving a range of goods from
other nations, and imposing an asset freeze and travel ban on officials related to the nuclear
weapons program.

During the Security Council proceedings, a North Korean representative said his country, "totally
rejected" the resolution. He called the Security Council "gangster-like" for condemning his nation's
nuclear program while, "neglecting the nuclear threat posed by the United States against his
country". He insisted the nuclear program is vital for North Koreas' self-defense. Other experts,
however, argue that the pursuit of a nuclear program is deliberately provocative towards South
Korea and/or designed to achieve global economic leverage.

In October 2007, North Korea and South Korea signed an 8-point peace agreement on issues of
permanent peace, economic cooperation and renewed travel between the countries. This was the
second step of what was outlined in the Six-Party Talks in February 2007, and were signs that the
relationships between North Korea and the countries involved in the Six0Party Talks were
becoming less tense.

On October 11, 2008, the US removed North Korea from its list of states that sponsor terrorism. In
January 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited North Korea and offered to normalize
economic ties if they agreed to abandon their nuclear program. Days later, however, North Korea
confirmed that they were preparing to test the launch of a ballistic missile believed to be capable of
reaching the United States, calling it a 'scientific satellite'.

Russian Federation
United States of America
Islamic Republic of Iran
Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea
United Kingdom
South Africa

North Korea's nuclear program
South Korea North Korea relations
Human Rights for North Koreans (can discuss famine, limited freedoms, and more)
What should the international community's response be to North Korea?

(1) Review the list of Priorities
(2) After you are assigned a stakeholder (a country or an organization), read through the
information provided about this group.
(3) Analyze the situation and determine a course of action for your stakeholder that can be
summarized in a 30 second to 1 minute speech to other stakeholders.
(4) Following the speeches, spend 15 minutes with the group to develop a plan of action to
address the situation in North Korea.
(5) If there are several action plans, vote on which one you think will have the greatest success.


Delegates should be aware of their stakeholder's nuclear program. The five veto powers in the
Security Council (US, Russian, United Kingdom, France, and China) all have nuclear capabilities.
Israel, Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons as well. Iran and North Korea are developing
nuclear programs. Delegates should also consider how the country they are representing deals with
human rights. Delegates should take a measured approach to handling the situation in North
Korea. Look at previous patterns of behavior and the choices the North Korean government has
made in the past. The same family has been in power since 1945. It is likely that North Korea's
official reaction to Security Council resolutions will be similar to past responses.