pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 08 – No. 03

The Six-Party Talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program could rank in importance with the creation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe if two things happen: North Korea makes a strategic decision to terminate its nuclear weapons program and destroy any nuclear weapons in its possession; and all the governments involved opt for transformational agreements, as opposed to preserving the status quo in Northeast Asia. Three interrelated elements bear on bringing peace to divided Korea: an agreement to end the armistice agreement, a larger cluster of agreements that create conditions for enduring peace in Korea, and a regional framework that provides a mechanism for resolving conflicts and promoting peace in a region where divided Korea is not the only bitter residue of the past. Thus, the future security architecture of Northeast Asia will have at its core the Korean Peninsula legally at peace after six decades, that peace supported by a set of cooperative understandings mainly between South and North Korea comprising a “peace regime,” all embedded in a multilateral mechanism for promoting peace and security in Northeast Asia.