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Mr. Chairman, I welcome this opportunity to discuss our efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue. This is a problem that developed over the last decade and that previous administrations have worked to resolve.
I have been intimately involved in this issue since June 1993 when the Clinton Administration began bilateral discussions with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in New York. After on again, off again negotiations over the next 15 months, we concluded the October 21, 1994 U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework in Geneva. That document represents an important step toward resolving our differences with the DPRK.
Today, I would like to discuss:
1. The contents of the Agreed Framework and, particularly, what it accomplishes;
2. Why we, and our close allies in Asia, believe the Agreed Framework is an important step in the right direction; and
3. Steps both sides have taken to begin implementation of the framework since it was concluded on October 21.
DPRK Obligations Under the Agreed Framework
Our goal has been to head off the potential threat posed by North Korea's nuclear program. To do so, we have formulated an approach to deal with the current nuclear program of the DPRK, the potential future growth of that program, and the program's past, specifically, how much plutonium did the North produce in the late 1980s. That approach is embodied in the October 21 U.S.-DPR K Agreed Framework which, in our view, addresses these concerns. Indeed, the Agreed Framework achieves more than we and the international community thought possible when the U.S. first began talking to North Korea some 18 months ago.
One of our main concerns about the DPRK's current nuclear effort has been the disposition of the spent nuclear fuel currently stored in the pond at the 5 megawatt (mw) research reactor at Yongbyon. That fuel contains up to 30 kilograms of plutonium. Our objective was to make sure that fuel was not reprocessed, and that the plutonium was not separated. Under the Agreed Framework, the fuel will remain safely stored in the pond and will eventually be shipped out of the country.
A second objective was to ensure that no additional plutonium was produced, specifically, that the North did not restart …