The US/ROK Nuclear Cooperation Agreement pushed to 2016

The US/ROK Nuclear Cooperation Agreement pushed to 2016 (Pic via Stripes)

The United States and South Korea agreed on an extension of the 1972 US-ROK Nonproliferation Agreement, pushing the agreement’s expiration date from 2014 to 2016. South Korea hopes to negotiate a revised document that would allow domestic uranium enrichment and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Yonhap has the details:

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Wednesday that it has failed to win U.S. permission to enrich uranium and reprocess spent nuclear fuel in negotiations aimed at renewing a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement.

Instead, the allies agreed to extend the current agreement by two more years until March 2016, said a senior official at Seoul’s foreign ministry who is privy to the highly sensitive talks with the U.S., following the latest round of negotiations in Washington last week.

“The two sides agreed to extend the current nuclear cooperation agreement by two years to avoid a lapse in the agreement, and the next round of the talks will be held in June,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Extending the pact will “give Korea and the U.S. more time for close consultations and lay the ground for the two sides to achieve good results in smoothly revising the agreement,” the official said.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula normally revolve around the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) enriching and reprocessing capabilities  This author isn’t sure that US worries over allowing the Republic of Korea (ROK) to reprocess and enrich would push the DPRK to do more than they’re already doing, though it would potentially make the Japanese anxious. The ROK is looking for legitimacy with this issue, and Japan’s been able to escape the US’s shadow to enrich and reprocess their own uranium for decades. The ROK won’t easily bow to US desires, especially when their neighbors have achieved said rights.

The US has pushed this fight into overtime, but the ROK won’t fall without trading a few more blows. If I were the ROK, I’d elude to a potential concession and start asking for cheaper arms acquisitions and more tech sharing. ;-p

(h/t to ROKDrop for being the first to hit my RSS Feed with the Story)

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Craig was born & raised in the United States, having recently returned there after over five years in Asia. He is currently pursuing further education in the realms of East Asian Studies and Politics. Craig is an avid fan of the political, economic, and military machinations occurring throughout the Asian continent and how those turning gears affect the rest of the world. He's currently covering both North and South Korea for Asia Security Watch, enjoying shedding light on to this far-too-often ignored slice of Asia.
Craig Scanlan has 88 post(s) on New Pacific Institute