Carnegie Corporation Grantee Siegfried Hecker and David Straub Explain North Korea’s Plan to Halt Nuclear Program

Grantees in this story

North Korea’s recent agreement to halt most of its nuclear weapons activities in return for food aid from the United States is welcome diplomatic news.

North Korea has indicated that it will carry out its promises to suspend uranium enrichment at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, stop long-range missile and nuclear tests and allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to return.

However, the agreement, according to Stanford University experts Siegfried S. Hecker and David Straub, stops far short of addressing the world’s concerns about the isolated and unstable dictatorship.

In a new Q&A, Hecker and Straub discuss Pyongyang’s deal with Washington that will allow nuclear inspectors into North Korea and deliver much-needed nutritional assistance to the impoverished country.

Hecker, a Carnegie Corporation grantee, is co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). He has visited North Korea four times since 2004. During his last trip in 2010, he was shown a new light-water reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear center and a uranium enrichment facility.

Straub is the associate director of the Korean Studies Program at FSI. He is a former State Department senior Foreign Service officer who worked for more than 12 years on Korean affairs. He travelled to North Korea in 2009 with former President Bill Clinton as part of a delegation to secure the release of two journalists from Current TV.

Read the Q&A