The last two times North Korea said it was giving up nukes, it was lying

Key Points
  • Two major diplomatic initiatives — in 1994 and the early 2000s — provide examples of how Pyongyang has repeatedly backtracked on its nuclear commitments.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a military parade in Pyongyang marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, the late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.
STR | AFP | Getty Images

For decades, the international community has tried to stop North Korea's nuclear weapon and missile development. It has failed.

The pariah state has promised disarmament more than once, only to repeatedly backtrack on its commitments. It has duped multiple U.S. presidential administrations, each of which has passed the North Korea problem onto the next. Now, many fear that pattern is being repeated as Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump prepare to meet before May.

Two major diplomatic initiatives — in 1994 and the early 2000s — are examples of Pyongyang's spotty history on negotiations.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton's administration and North Korea signed a deal known as the Agreed Framework. Under the terms, Pyongyang committed to freezing its illicit plutonium weapons program in exchange for U.S. construction of light-water nuclear reactors, heavy fuel, normalized relations and formal assurances against the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

Who's doing business with North Korea?
Who's doing business with North Korea?

But in 2002, the North once again began operating its nuclear facilities.

However, some of the blame may be due to failed commitments from Washington's side. The heavy fuel oil shipments and light-water reactors were delivered only partially or not at all, Leonid Petrov, a Korean studies researcher at the Australian National University, told CNBC earlier this week.

Early 2000s

In 2005, multilateral discussions among China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. — known as the Six-Party Talks — seemed to take a step forward when North Korea pledged to abandon its existing nuclear programs.

North Korea also pledged to return to the Nonproliferation Treaty, which the country said it had decided to leave two years prior — which it had agreed to enter back in the 1980s.

The deal appeared to be a diplomatic win for the U.S. administration of George W. Bush. Then in 2006, Pyongyang launched its first nuclear test.

The Six-Party Talks continued and in 2007, the pariah nation began disabling its Yongbyon nuclear plant.

But that good will didn't last. By the end of 2008, the regime restarted its nuclear program and barred nuclear inspectors, resulting in the country walking out of negotiations in 2009.