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Expert Available on North Korean Deal on Nuclear Arms and the Impact on Northeast Asian Security

North Korea agreed yesterday to end its nuclear weapons program and accept International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards in return for security, economic and energy benefits including acknowledgment of its right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. A day later North Korea jeopardized the deal by announcing it would keep the weapons until Washington provided civilian atomic reactors. The six countries will meet again in November to work on the plan’s details.

David Arase, an expert on Northeast Asia regional security relations and economic cooperation, is available to discuss this dramatic conclusion to the latest six-party talks as well its potential impact on the region and U.S. policy.

A professor of politics at Pomona College, Arase has studied the political relationships in the region and U.S.-East Asian relations for more than 15 years. He is the editor of Japan's Development Assistance (Routledge, 2005) and The Challenge of Change: East Asia in the New Millennium, Research Papers and Policy Studies, 44 (Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 2003). He is also the author of numerous chapters and peer-reviewed articles on Japan’s influence in the region.

In 2004, Arase traveled through Korea and China giving invited talks on the implications of the drawdown of U.S. forces in Korea, economic cooperation between China and Russia, and Northeast Asian economic cooperation. The trips were funded by the U.S. State Department.

“A post-agreement Northeast Asia will be very different from today,” notes Arase. Following are a few of Professor Arase’s initial thoughts on this week’s developments:

“The agreement in principle is a step back from the brink. But persuading North Korea to give up its right to nuclear energy will be difficult for some important reasons. The US promised to build a nuclear power plant in NK in 1994, and its construction has been going for several years already. North Korea has no oil and oil prices are getting too high for NK to finance through exports. And, the U.S. is helping India develop nuclear power plants even though India violated the NPT and developed nuclear weapons.
“The U.S. is in a difficult position because of the timing of the Iran nuclear power dispute. It cannot concede to North Korea’s demands for a power plant while refusing to recognize Iran’s right to do so. One possible compromise might be to allow the power plants, but forbid uranium enrichment in exchange for guaranteed supply and reprocessing of uranium.”

Prof. Arase can be reach for comment at his office phone: (909) 607-1211 or by email at David.Arase@pomona.edu, or through the Pomona College Communications Office at (909) 621-8515. His resume can be viewed at http://www.politics.pomona.edu/arase.html.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.