Jang-Hyun Paik (CINAP) I would like to share my thoughts on how to tackle North Korean Nuclear Issues, which hinder the settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula directly. The possibility of using nuclear weapons is growing. In February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin said if NATO, including the United States, intervened in the war in Ukraine, Russia may use nuclear weapons. It was an alarming threat because it reversed the existing notion that nuclear weapons were only mentioned to threaten their counterpart. Analysis of Russia followed implying that if Russia falls into a corner, it may actually use nuclear weapons. In April 2022, Kim Jong Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, also said at the ceremony for the founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army that if North Korea's fundamental interests were violated, nuclear weapons can be used. Kim Jong Un's mention of the possibility of preemptive use of nuclear weapons is a major change because North Korea has consistently said its nuclear weapons development is a defense to curb the U.S. nuclear threat. It is estimated that North Korea currently possesses 30-40 nuclear weapons (SIPRI Yearbook 2020) and a tactical nuclear operation system and setting up the operation organization has been completed to implement a “preemptive nuclear strategy”. Also, various ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads are being developed in various models and launch methods including the Hwasong-17 ICBM, the KN-15 SLBM, and hypersonic missiles. These missile models are considered threatening because they are difficult to defend. If we left the North Korean nuclear issue unattended, North Korea would apparently possess nuclear weapons and it will lead to rapid nuclear proliferation and the current NPT regime will collapse. If North Korea’s nuclear threat becomes a reality, Japan and South Korea will start planning nuclear armament. According to Professor Peter Hayes, nuclear armament takes 2-3 months for Japan, and 2-3 years for Korea to develop nuclear weapons. Northeast Asia will be running into a nuclear arms race without a doubt. At this moment, North Korea's nuclear weapons are the biggest threat to peace on the Korean Peninsula and peace in Northeast Asia. In particular, South Korea has been trying to overcome the division through exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas since 2000, all of which have been canceled due to the North Korean nuclear issue. The international community has been trying several attempts to solve the nuclear issue. In 1994, the Clinton administration planned to bomb North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility when the first North Korean nuclear crisis heightened. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited Pyongyang to negotiate with Kim Il-sung to overcome the war crisis, but there was another reason why the Clinton administration did not carry out the bombing scenario. Because the results of the war simulation were much worse than expected. The simulation of Los Alamos National Lab indicated, within the first three months of the war, 50-100 thousand U.S. soldiers, at least 500 thousand South Korean soldiers, and millions of Korean civilians would die as well as $1 trillion in property damage would be caused. It must be tough for the leader of a democratic country like the United States to go to war where the such massive loss of life would result. We also tried to put pressure on North Korea’s economy to give up its nuclear weapons through economic sanctions. On the United Nations level, already 11 Security Council Resolutions were adopted since 2006 (UNSC Resolution 1695, 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094, 2270, 2321, 2356, 2371, 2375, 2397). North Korea has limitations on oil imports, bans on exports of various minerals such as coal, iron ore, lead, seafood, and textiles, and bans on labor permits for overseas workers. It's hard to find any more items to ban. However, there are no signs that North Korea will give up its nuclear weapons program. Considering whether any country has given up security due to economic difficulties in the East and West, it makes no sense to expect North Korea's denuclearization as a result of economic sanctions. There were also efforts to resolve the issue through diplomatic manners. A total of 5 attempts were made; Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula (South and North Korea, January 1992), Geneva Agreement (DPRK-U.S, October 1994), September 19 Joint Statement (6-party talks, September 2005), February 29 “Leap Day” Deal (DPRK-U.S, February 2012), and Singapore Joint Statement (DPRK-U.S., June 2018). Among them, the September 19 Joint Statement, which aimed to establish a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and the normalization of DPRK-U.S. relations simultaneously promoted to abolish North Korea's nuclear weapons program and resolving security threats felt by the North, and the Singapore Joint Statement, which aimed to end hostile relations and establish a new relationship between the DPRK-U.S., establish a permanent and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and complete denuclearization of North Korea, is the most important. Both agreements should be carried out simultaneously to denuclearize North Korea, establish a peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula, and normalize U.S.-North Korea relations. This can be said for the current level of international agreement on the North Korean nuclear issue. Since February 2019, when the DPRK-U.S. Hanoi Summit broke down, North Korean nuclear issues are left unattended. The United States demanded the final states and milestones for denuclearization, pressured to abandon Yongbyon nuclear facilities and dismantle the concealed highly enriched uranium facilities. However, economic sanctions cannot be lifted before a comprehensive blueprint for the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program is released, which led to the disappointment of the North Korean side. On the other hand, North Korea demanded the security of the North Korean regime, the suspension of ROK-U.S. joint military drills and deployment of U.S. strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula, and the lifting of economic sanctions or partial easing for the dismantlement of Yongbyon nuclear facilities. The reason why it is difficult to conclude negotiations? It is difficult to list the possessed nuclear weapons, nuclear facilities, and nuclear materials, and these are the final states of the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons. In the 2007 six-party talks, North Korea presented a list of nuclear facilities but only controversy grew. The trust issue is rooted in the fact that there is no minimum trust between North Korea. It has been confirmed at the Hanoi talks that public opinion in the U.S. is the constant of negotiations between DPRK-U.S., and the president can only agree on denuclearization measures proposed by the U.S. media and Congress. We need creative solutions. The idea of reaching the highest level of agreement at once in the DPRK-U.S. relationship without recovering trust is simply too greedy. The difficult part of the agreement can be managed with vague expressions, supplemented by building trust step by step in the process of dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons and establishing peace. If North Korea accepts the condition of dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear facility, the next step can be carried out rather quickly. We should set aside our distrust, suspecting that North Korea will stall with its split tactics, and prepare supplementary measures such as snap back right away. Considering the deep distrust between the U.S. and DPRK, I think a mediator is needed to solve the North Korean nuclear problem. The six-party talks might be resumed, but given the current ongoing war in Ukraine, the relationship between the United States, Russia, and China is not favorable so it is highly unlikely that the six-party talks can be held anytime soon. Instead, we can think of a third-party mediation with authority as an alternative. Catholic Church may suggest a grand vision to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and create international public opinion and mediate the DPRK-U.S. talks. I believe that Catholic Church plays a great role in eliminating the possibility of war on the Korean Peninsula and establishing peace. First, we need international public opinion to pressure the responsible parties to come forward and resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, which is currently neglected and worsening over time. The bishops and priests from the United States, Korea, and the Vatican who are gathered here today could play a significant role. In particular, the words of Pope Francis has a great influence on public opinion in the United States. The Catholic Church has a calling for peace and the Church must present a grand vision, namely a blueprint and road map for resolving all nuclear issues, including North Korea's nuclear weapons program. In the short term, the Church should suggest a resolution for the North Korean nuclear issue. It should be made clear that the North Korean nuclear issue cannot be solved by military forces or economic sanctions. It should also be pointed out that the nuclear issue must be resolved promptly through diplomatic means based on the September 19 Joint Statement and the Singapore Joint Statement. In the medium term, we should build the Northeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) as Tomohisa Taue, Mayor of Nagasaki, Japan, suggested in August 2022 at the Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony and I believe that he has the right answer. Mayor Taue also appealed to the official nuclear powers in Northeast Asia--United States, China, and Russia—to sign a treaty guaranteed by the United States not to preemptively use nuclear weapons on non-nuclear countries such as Japan, South Korea, North Korea, and Mongolia. And he also suggested an institutionalization of a security summit between the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South and North Korea to draw up the Northeast Asia security strategy and establish peace in this region. I feel that it would be wonderful if Catholic Church accepts these suggestions by Mayor Taue. In the long term, we should build a world free of nuclear weapons. This is what Pope Francis always emphasizes. Pope Francis defined nuclear weapons as a criminal act and urged countries around the world to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) during his visit to Hiroshima in November 2019. The TPNW, unlike the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), is a treaty that prohibits both nuclear and non-nuclear states from having nuclear weapons. President Barack Obama also advocated a world free of nuclear weapons in Prague in April 2009. In January this year, the leaders of the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China released a joint statement on the prevention of nuclear war. The goal was to work together for a world free of nuclear weapons. This vision, creating a world free of nuclear weapons in the long run, is the vision that anyone can agree on. The Vatican may mediate the United States-North Korea talks, as the Church and Pope Francis has previous diplomatic experiences in normalizing U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations. The Vatican, with moral authority, could mediate between North Korea and the United States, where distrust remains. A few days ago, I saw Pope Francis once again expressing his willingness to visit North Korea in a broadcast interview. The Pope's visit to North Korea will be a watershed event in opening up and denuclearizing North Korea. I would like to end my presentation by expressing my sincere wish for the Catholic community to work on the denuclearization of North Korea, which will be the cornerstone of peace on the Korean Peninsula, peace in Northeast Asia, and even world peace. Thank you.