Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

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The Agreed Framework between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was signed on October 21, 1994 between North Korea (DPRK) and the United States. The objective of the agreement was the freezing and replacement of North Korea's indigenous nuclear power plant program with more nuclear proliferation resistant light water reactor power plants,[1] and the step-by-step normalization of relations between the U.S. and the DPRK. Implementation of the agreement was troubled from the start, but its key elements were being implemented until it effectively broke down in 2003.


The agreement

The main provisions of the agreement were:

  • DPRK's graphite-moderated 5MWe nuclear reactor, and the 50 MWe and 200 MWe reactors under construction, which could easily produce weapons grade plutonium, would be replaced with two 1000MW light water reactors (LWR) power plants by a target date of 2003.
  • Oil for heating and electricity production would be provided while DPRK's reactors were shut down and construction halted, until completion of the first LWR power unit. The amount of oil was 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil per year.
  • The two sides would move toward full normalization of political and economic relations.
  • The U.S. would provide formal assurances to the DPRK, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.
  • The DPRK would take steps to implement the 1992 Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.[2]
  • The DPRK would remain a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • IAEA ad hoc and routine inspections would resume for facilities not subject to the freeze.
  • Existing spent nuclear fuel stocks would be stored and ultimately disposed of without reprocessing in the DPRK.
  • Before delivery of key LWR nuclear components, the DPRK would come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

There were also some confidential minutes supporting the agreement, which have not been made public.[3][4] These are reported to include that full-scope IAEA safeguards would be applied when the major non-nuclear components of the first LWR unit were completed but before the delivery of key nuclear components.[5]

The pact was neither a treaty subject to Senate approval nor a legally binding executive agreement, but a non-binding political commitment between the two countries noted by the United Nations Security Council.[6] It was signed in the wake of North Korea's 90-day advance notification of its intended withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (which North Korea "suspended" after 89 days), a U.S. military buildup near the country, and U.S. plans to bomb the active Yongbyon nuclear reactor.[7]

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