Sorting out conflicting reports of North Korean intentions

November 18, 2002

Over the past weekend, a number of stories emerged regarding North Korea's commitments to its past policy statements. These statements addressed the missile testing moratorium and the status of a North Korean nuclear weapons program. The following summaries represent the latest information of the status of these issues:

Nuclear Weapons Program

On Sunday November 17, 2002, a North Korean state-sponsored radio station broadcasted that North Korea has a nuclear weapon. This appeared to be a departure from North Korea's previous statements that said only that it was entitled to have a nuclear weapon.

However, the broadcast may have been in error. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has said that the error may have been a misunderstanding due to the announcer's accent. Only one syllable separates the two phrases, "kajige tui-o-itta" (is entitled to have) and "kajige tui-otta" (has come to have)1.

Meanwhile, separate reports from North Korea denied that it has violated the NPT or the Agreed Framework.

Sunday, November 17

Monday, November 18

Missile Moratorium

1 "N Korean nuclear 'admission' in doubt,", November 18, 2002.

2 "DPRK-Japan Pyongyang declaration published," KCNA, September 17, 2002.