In 1993 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) refused to let international inspectors see whether it had secretly separated plutonium for bombs. Subsequent negotiations led to a 1994 U.S.–DPRK Agreed Framework that stopped the North's plutonium production but at heavy political and financial cost. The 1994 agreement and its background are the subjects of this paper.
The United States will supply North Korea with two large nuclear power reactors worth more than $4 billion (mainly from South Korea and Japan) and a substantial fuel oil supply until the first power reactor begins to operate. North Korea has stopped running a small plutonium production reactor and constructing two larger ones. The disputed inspections were postponed until the United States supplied a substantial portion of the new reactors. The DPRK is supposed to have dismantled its indigenous facilities by the time both new reactors are completed.
The agreement leaves the United States subject to the continued threat of a restart of DPRK plutonium production. One way to limit this would be through "phased performance"--the progressive dismantling of DPRK facilities as the new reactors are built. Although the DPRK will object to starting to dismantle now, it will be in a stronger position to object when it has the new reactors.