Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 08/2012

A History of KEDO 1994-2006

Robert Carlin, Joel Wit, Charles Kartman

July 2012

Center for International Security and Cooperation


North Korea experts Charles Kartman, Robert Carlin and Joel Wit have produced the first in-depth look at the now-defunct Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). The pact was founded by the United States, South Korea, and Japan in 1994 to implement the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework, which froze North Korea's nuclear power plant development at Yongbyon. The power plant was suspected of being a step in the North's development of a nuclear weapons program. KEDO’s profile on the North Korean landscape was unmistakable, its impact on Pyongyang profound. Yet, real knowledge and understanding about the organization in public and official circles in South Korea, Japan, and the United States was terribly thin at the beginning, and remains so to this day. As a result, the lessons learned from KEDO's decade-long experience working with the North Koreans have been largely misunderstood.