Nuclear Nonproliferation: Status of Heavy Fuel Oil Delivered to North Korea Under the Agreed Framework Page: 3 of 33
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General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548
Resources, Community, and
Economic Development Division
September 30, 1999
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman
Chairman, Committee on
House of Representatives
Dear Mr. Chairman:
During the early 1990s, North Korea's nuclear program was suspected of
producing nuclear material capable of being fashioned into nuclear
weapons. To address this threat and ease tensions on the Korean
Peninsula, the United States and North Korea signed an agreement known
as the Agreed Framework on October 21, 1994.1 Under this agreement,
North Korea agreed to freeze the construction and operation of its existing
nuclear reactors and related facilities, to eventually dismantle this
equipment, and to comply with the international Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In exchange, the United States
pledged to help North Korea acquire two light-water nuclear reactors for
electricity generation by arranging for their construction through an
international consortium, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development
Organization (KEDO).2 Furthermore, to offset the energy forgone by the
freeze on North Korea's nuclear reactors, the United States pledged to
arrange through the organization for deliveries of 500,000 metric tons of
heavy fuel oil annually until the first reactor was completed.3 An
agreement on the actual schedule for delivering the reactors has not yet
been concluded. The Agreed Framework provides that the fuel oil is to be
used for heating and electricity generation. However, reports have alleged
that North Korea has diverted some of this heavy fuel oil for purposes not
specified in the Agreed Framework, including resale abroad.
1"Agreed Framework Between the United States of America and the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea." The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is commonly known as North Korea.
2KEDO was established on Mar. 9, 1995, by the governments of Japan, the Republic of Korea (South
Korea), and the United States. The governments of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the Czech
Republic, Finland, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Poland have since joined the organization. In Sept.
1997, the European Atomic Energy Community-an organization of the European Union-joined KEDO
and, with Japan, South Korea, and the United States, became a member of its Executive Board. The
organization's activities are funded primarily by members' contributions.
3A KEDO consultant (Management Strategies, Inc.) estimates that in 1996, 500,000 metric tons
represented 45 percent of North Korea's total annual heavy fuel oil needs.
GAO/RCED-99-276 Nuclear Nonproliferation
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United States. General Accounting Office. Nuclear Nonproliferation: Status of Heavy Fuel Oil Delivered to North Korea Under the Agreed Framework, report, September 30, 1999; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294400/m1/3/: accessed February 15, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.