A Study Suggests New Approach to Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

22 September 2020
A Study Suggests New Approach to Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

An end of fissile material production can be reliably verified and prepare ground for more comprehensive measures.

GENEVA, 16 SEPTEMBER 2020 — A UNIDIR report published today suggests a new approach to resolving the key technical hurdle on the way toward an arrangement that would stop the production of fissile materials in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The report, Freeze and Verify: Ending Fissile Material Production on the Korean Peninsula, explains that a freeze of fissile material production is widely seen as an essential element of any future agreement to constrain and roll back the DPRK nuclear program. “The key technical issue is how to ensure reliable verification of the freeze in a situation when inspectors do not have access all nuclear facilities in the State,” said Pavel Podvig, the author of the study. He added that while in the past the DPRK expressed readiness to close some of its nuclear sites, it is difficult to expect that it will disclose locations of its military facilities.

The arrangement described in the report shows that even in this case it is possible to build an effective verification programme. This programme would verify the end of production and would eventually account for all nuclear materials. The verification programme could support the political process leading to elimination of all nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

This project is part of a broader UNIDIR research programme that explores various aspects of nuclear disarmament verification. “Developing ideas that can help advance practical disarmament is the core of the Institute’s mission,” said Dr. Renata Dwan, Director of UNIDIR. “This report identifies pragmatic paths to overcome technical obstacles and help create greater political space to address the challenge of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.”


UNIDIR is a voluntarily funded, autonomous institute within the United Nations. One of the few policy institutes worldwide focusing on disarmament, UNIDIR generates knowledge and promotes dialogue and action on disarmament and security. Based in Geneva, UNIDIR assists the international community to develop the practical, innovative ideas needed to find solutions to critical security problems. For more information about UNIDIR, visit: www.unidir.org

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Aaron J. Buckley             Pavel Podvig
Strategic Communications
            Senior Researcher, WMD & Other
Strategic Weapons
+41 76 691 10 74             +41 78 798 79 68
buckleya@un.org             Pavel.podvig@un.org