The Self-defense Capability of the DPRK and Peace on the Korean Peninsula
On the Korean Peninsula, tightening sanctions and joint-military exercises have been matched by a succession of weapons tests. Indeed, 2017 has seen hostilities on the Korean Peninsula rise to an unprecedented level. According to O Chol Yong, there are two ways to achieve peace: reconciliation and balance of power. In this Focus Asia paper, the successes and failures of both methods are described. Through this account, O argues that increasing DPRK’s self-defense capability is the only reasonable means to achieve peace.
Peace is the common desire of humanity. For the Korean people, who have experienced the disaster of the Korean War in the 1950s and who have been exposed to constant danger of nuclear war, nothing is more precious than peace. However, peace never comes from desire alone.
There are two ways to achieve peace. First is reconciliation. When two hostile parties sign an international convention or reach a mutual agreement to give up hostility to each other and live in harmony, peace will prevail. Terminations of the WWI and WWII as well as establishment of peace through international or mutual agreements, the Iran-Iraq War being typical examples. The other way to keep peace is by attaining balance of power. If one party chooses to stick to hostility towards the other party and constantly threatens its security, then peace will never be made through reconciliation. Peace can be kept, in this case, only when the two parties are balanced in power.
Then what is the appropriate means to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula?
Peace through Reconciliation
It will be ideal if it is possible to keep peace on the Korean peninsula by means of reconciliation. If the two hostile parties are to reconcile, naturally, both parties should hold a sincere intention for reconciliation.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has made genuine efforts to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula through reconciliation. It is a consistent stand of the Workers’ Party of Korea and government of the DPRK to improve and normalize the relations with the countries that respect sovereignty of and are friendly to the DPRK, even if they were hostile in the past.
Therefore, in order to put an end to the current status of the Korean Peninsula which is technically at war and to achieve lasting peace, the DPRK had suggested the proposal to replace the Korean Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty. This suggestion was made a long time ago and the DPRK has made every possible effort towards this end.
In the Armistice Talks (1951-1953), the DPRK had already included the peaceful settlement of the Korean issue on its agenda and has maintained a constant efforts towards this end through political conference. Despite the United States (U.S.) maneuvers to delay the talks by relying on a dubious attitude towards the issue of summoning a political conference, it was stipulated in the Paragraph 60, Article IV of the Korean Armistice Agreement to summon a political conference of higher level from both sides within three months after signature of the Armistice Agreement. This would include a discussion regarding the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea and the peaceful settlement of the Korean issue.
No sooner had they signed the Korean Armistice Agreement than the U.S. initiated the U.S.-south Korea “Mutual Defense Treaty” on 1 October 1953. This treaty “legalized” its military station in South Korea and broke off the preparatory meeting for the political conference held in Panmunjom from October 1953 to January 1954. Essentially, it blocked the work for peaceful settlement of the Korean issue from the very beginning. After that, during the Foreign Ministers Conference of four powers (U.S., Soviet Union, U.K. and France) held in Geneva in 1954, the DPRK offered reasonable proposals for successful transition from the armistice to permanent peace. These were rejected by the U.S. for no apparent reason.
Even after that, the DPRK began an initiative to remove military confrontations between north and south and to urge withdrawal of foreign forces from the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK government issued statements on May 1956 and February 1958, all of which proposed refraining from use of forces of north and south against each other. These proposed to proclaim both home and abroad their decision to settle the Korean issue by peaceful means, to reduce the number of troops down to 100,000 and to withdraw foreign troops from the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, by request of the DPRK government, the Chinese People’s Volunteers Army totally withdrew from Korea in October 1958.
However, both the U.S. and South Korea have persistently turned a blind eye to these efforts which would ease tension and help to secure peace. Moreover, in utter violation of the Armistice Agreement, the U.S. expanded their aggressive armed forces in South Korea on large scale and went so far as to bring nuclear weapons into the Korean Peninsula, which was a great threat to peace.
From 1970s, the DPRK offered a series of new practical and flexible peace proposals in order to establish permanent peace on the peninsula. These included the proposal to hold the DPRK-U.S. negotiation for the conclusion of a peace treaty and withdraw all foreign troops from the Korean Peninsula. Put forth in 1974, the suggestion to conduct tripartite talks, the proposal to withdraw the U.S. troops step-by-step in accordance with the reduction of armed forces of both north and south and the proposal to conclude provisional agreement to prevent a military conflict until the conclusion of a peace treaty.
However, the DPRK’s efforts towards a peace treaty were not confined to only suggesting proposals. The DPRK took positive and magnanimous measures for its realization as well. It displayed both sincerity and generosity by taking the initiative to reduce 80,000 military personnel unilaterally in August 1956 which was followed by another unilateral reduction of 100,000 military personnel in 1987. It also participated in multilateral talks such as four-party talks proposed by the U.S.
Yet, the U.S. doggedly rejected the reconciliation offer extended by the DPRK. They opposed the DPRK-U.S. direct negotiation for conclusion of a peace treaty from the very beginning and precluded the conclusion of a peace treaty insisting on including South Korea within the negotiations. South Korea officially opposed the ceasefire and refused to sign the Armistice Agreement and vowed to, “advance northward alone”. Since South Korea is not the party that signed the Armistice Agreement, it is clear that it cannot be a party to the peace treaty. Moreover, the wartime operational control of the South Korean army is in the hands of the Commander of the U.S.-Forces Korea (USFK). Most importantly, this means that South Korea does not have the ultimate authority to legally terminate the state of war on the Korean Peninsula.
In order to put an end to the state of war and secure lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the DPRK proposed tripartite talks which included South Korea in the DPRK-U.S. negotiation. Nonetheless, the U.S. insisted that the peace treaty should be concluded between the north and south and the U.S. would back it up. This revealed that their real intention was to maintain a state of armistice between the DPRK and the U.S. Thanks to the active efforts by the DPRK government, the Agreement on Reconciliation, Non-Aggression and Exchange and Cooperation between North and South was adopted in December 1991. This legally put an end to the belligerent relation between the north and south, leaving only the peace treaty as the final step to be made between the DPRK and the U.S.
However, the U.S. blocked the conclusion of the peace treaty once again by creating the so-called “suspicion on nuclear development”. Using the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.S. tried to impose a “special inspection” on sensitive military facilities. Further, they resumed the “Team Spirit” joint military exercises which they had temporarily suspended and in doing so they escalated the tension to its extremity. To cope with the grave situation the DPRK withdrew from the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty), and consequently the U.S. could not but turn up at the talks. The U.S. requested that the DPRK should not withdraw from the NPT by offering their provision of Light Water Reactor and crude oil. However, they were still reluctant to conclude a peace treaty. At this stage, the DPRK was willing to consider any proposal that could contribute to the provision of peace and security and consented to the four-party talks proposed by Clinton in 1996. These yielded little results. Hence, the DPRK was compelled to develop nuclear weapons in order to cope with nuclear threats of the U.S. The DPRK attended the six-party talks as part of its constant efforts to settle the issue of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful means. However, the U.S. put the peace treaty issue aside, clinging to the unreasonable logic that the peace treaty can never be concluded before denuclearization of the DPRK. As a result, the six-party talks, that only discussed the denuclearization issue which aims at disarming the DPRK, ended up in failure without any discussion on the conclusion of a peace treaty.
In sum, DPRK-U.S. relations on the issue of the peace treaty contains a history of constant refusal by the U.S. to work with the DPRK towards reconciliation.
The Reasoning for Hostile U.S. Policies towards the DPRK
Ignoring such sincere proposals and efforts of the DPRK, the U.S. clung only to the hostile policy towards the former. There were a series of U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises targeting the DPRK. To date there have been more than 1,000 major exercises. Most recently, the U.S. discarded the titles of “annual” and “defensive” exercises, and are now openly bragging about the “operation to capture Pyongyang”, “beheading operation” and “special operations”. They made an issue of the DPRK’s nuclear tests, self-defensive measures and even the launch of peaceful satellites. In relation to this, they fabricated six United Nations Security Council (UNSC) “sanctions resolutions”, against the DPRK. These block the DPRK’s normal economic development and stifle people’s living standards. They have recklessly used phrases such as the “removal of the leadership” and “regime change” with little regard that the U.S. is putting pressure upon the DPRK in every way possible under the clamor of “human rights”.
Since the end of the Cold War it is an international trend that the countries with past hostilities move towards reconciliation, cooperation and co-prosperity. Indeed, the U.S. has normalized relations even with Vietnam and Cuba. However, the U.S. is doggedly bent on hostility only towards the DPRK, displaying constitutional dislike. But, what is the reason for this? It is because the DPRK, dignified as the fortress of independence and bulwark of justice, obstructs the realization of the U.S. hegemonic ambitions.
Having battened through WWII, the U.S. started to step up their strategy for world supremacy and became ever more arrogant and resorted to high-handedness and arbitrariness after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is the robber-like logic of the U.S. that those countries obedient to the U.S. would survive, but those that are not should die. The arrogance of the U.S. in its extremely found its expression in the open remarks by Bush who said, unleashing the Iraq War, that anyone who is not on U.S. side is its enemy.
However, no high-handedness, arbitrariness nor arrogance of the U.S. would work with one country – the DPRK that regards independence as their lifeline. The history of the DPRK is the history of struggle for national sovereignty and dignity. The DPRK has regarded independence as an overriding principle of the state activities and resolutely rejected the pressures and interventions of imperialists and big power chauvinists. Almost every State in the world including large States boasting that they are ‘big powers’ are now seeking the favor of the U.S. There is no country like the DPRK that advances with dignity and voicing their views without submitting to the U.S. This greatly encourages the progressive countries aspiring for independence and justice. Indeed, in the U.S. eyes, the DPRK is such a “cancer-like being” and a “thorn in the flesh” that would always stand in the way to the establishment of the U.S.-led world order.
For the U.S., seeking for world hegemony, it is essential to conquer the whole Korean Peninsula to secure the bridgehead of aggression on the Eurasian continent. This is why the Korean nation was divided into two in 1945 after the defeat of Japanese imperialism and why the U.S., since its illegal occupation of South Korea, has been eagerly eying for chance to invade the DPRK for over 60 years. Therefore, the U.S. has never considered the DPRK as its partner for reconciliation, but the target for aggression they have to conquer by hook or by crook.
There is another important reason why the U.S. is set on regarding the DPRK as its enemy. That is to escalate the tension on the Korean Peninsula consistently so as to contain surrounding powers and create favorable conditions for realization of their ambition as a hegemony. What is important in the external strategy of the U.S. is to check the rise of the big powers capable of challenging their hegemony. The Northeast Asian region around the Korean Peninsula is dense with such powers as China, Russia and Japan. The U.S. needs to preserve enormous and indispensable combat forces in the Northeast Asian region to check their growth and the Korean Peninsula is located in the most appropriate position for this purpose.
Since the Korean Peninsula is a strategic point of great importance for their ambition, the U.S. had deployed their armed forces on and around the peninsula under the pretext of deterring the “southward invasion” of the Soviet Union and “protecting” their allies. But, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. formed a strategic partnership with the major powers around the Korean Peninsula. The surrounding powers also established diplomatic relations with the U.S. allies, South Korea and Japan. Consequently, the U.S. lost the justification that their military presence was a response to being threatened and to protect their allies. The DPRK remained the only state which can provide them with an excuse to keep and strengthen their military presence on and around the Korean peninsula, hence why the U.S. wants to maintain the state of war with the DPRK.
The rise of China, which has emerged as the power capable of practically challenging the U.S. position as the only superpower, made the U.S. more desperate to cling to the alleged “threat” from the DPRK as a means to bring strategic weapons in and around the Korean Peninsula. This is illustrated by the recent maneuvers to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea under the pretext of coping with the “threat” of the DPRK. The U.S. has asserted that THAAD aims only at the “threats of the nuclear weapons and missiles of the DPRK”, not at the third party, but this is questionable.
Indeed, experts have claimed that THAAD exceeds the “defense demand” of South Korea. Hence, the main purpose of the U.S. deployment of THAAD is to achieve strategic superiority in the region over China and Russia, drag South Korea within the U.S. missile defense system and to strengthen the U.S.-Japan-South Korea tripartite military alliance. So, under the pre-text of deterring “threats” from the DPRK, the U.S. brings its strategic nuclear assets such as various up-to-date war equipments, strategic nuclear bombers, nuclear submarines and stealth fighters into the Korean Peninsula.
Accentuating the alleged “threats” of the DPRK, the U.S. has attempted to form the Asian version of North American Treaty Organization (NATO) with the tripartite alliance of the U.S., Japan and South Korea as its principal axis, which would play a key role in its world domination strategy. If the tripartite military alliance is complete, the ongoing U.S.-South Korea and U.S.-Japan military exercises will develop into the U.S.-Japan-South Korea tripartite military exercises. This will increase the radius of the U.S.-led military operation and its offense capability in northeast Asia, whilst limiting the room for strategic activities of surrounding powers. However, Japan and South Korea face their own issues and in some ways hold a deep-rooted distrust stemming from historical and territorial issues. To cope with this, the U.S. is pursuing a “shock remedy” by escalating the tension. They exasperate the DPRK with nuclear threats in order to induce the self-defensive military responses from the DPRK and, brand them as “threat” to the security of the region.
This reality shows that it is not practical to seek peace on the Korean Peninsula by means of reconciliation.
Peace through Balance of Power
Balance of power, in international relations, is defined as the posture and policy of a nation or group of nations protecting itself against another nation or group of nations by matching its power against the power of the other side.
It is a bitter lesson of history that the continued imbalance of power between hostile countries results in war. There have been many wars since the appearance of the first atomic bomb, but war has never broken out between nuclear states. This vividly illustrates the importance of maintaining balance of power in keeping peace and stability.
Status of Power Balance (Northeast Asia) before the DPRK’s Nuclear Armament
The Korean Peninsula had long been subjected to a serious imbalance of power until the DPRK possessed its own nuclear weapons. The U.S. has not only the largest and the most developed stock of nuclear weapons but also various means of nuclear delivery such as intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and nuclear strategic bombers by which it can mount a nuclear strike on the DPRK at any time from its mainland. What is more, the U.S. is notorious for its actual, catastrophic nuclear strike on the human race as early as in the last century.
The U.S. has ceaselessly posed direct nuclear threat on the DPRK for over 60 years. It is broadly known that the U.S. planned to use A-bombs during the Korean War. Soon after the Korean War, in 1954 the U.S. made a plan of nuclear strike at several places of the DPRK and the Northeastern part of China. And when the U.S. large spy plane “EC-121” was shot down by the Korean People’s Army (KPA) air force in 1969, the U.S. attempted a nuclear strike in “retaliation” for the DPRK’s self-defense measures.
Provision of the “nuclear umbrella” by the U.S. to South Korea and Japan is a concentrated expression of nuclear threat on the DPRK. In 1955, soon after signing of “Mutual Defense Treaty” between the U.S. and South Korea, Radford, the then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff pledged that the U.S. would “defend” South Korea at the cost of using nuclear weapons. Accordingly, the U.S. first dragged tactical nuclear weapons that used to be deployed in Japan into South Korea in 1957, and in 1958 they brought nuclear artillery shells and missiles loaded with nuclear warheads. The number of nuclear weapons brought in South Korea amounted to more than 1,000 by mid-1970s.
Since the late 1960s, the U.S. unfolded joint military exercises for the use of nuclear weapons deployed in South Korea in the actual war against the DPRK. The U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, started as “Focus Retina” in 1969, have been conducted under numerous different names. In February 2017, U.S. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis visited South Korea and Japan to reassure the provision of “Extended deterrence” including “nuclear umbrella”. Even a trifling accidental conflict on the Korean Peninsula may trigger a nuclear strike on the DPRK by the U.S. Under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella” and with its large-scale troops on their land, South Korea and Japan themselves are not different from being fully armed with nuclear weapons.
To the contrary, the DPRK shows a different reality. No foreign nuclear umbrella is protecting the DPRK from nuclear threats from the U.S. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there is no legal obligation for mutual defense between the DPRK and Russia. Additionally, the DPRK-PRC Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Aid Treaty concluded in 1961 and had nothing to do with providing the DPRK with a nuclear umbrella. Rather it was concluded when China was not yet a nuclear state. Besides, nuclear doctrine of China is to maintain “minimized nuclear deterrent” that only aims at protecting itself. Therefore it was the DPRK only that remained as a nuclear vacuum on and around the Korean Peninsula covered by nuclear weapons or nuclear umbrellas.
Coping with such a serious imbalance, the DPRK has endeavored to remove the U.S. nuclear weapons from the peninsula and areas surrounding the peninsula by establishing nuclear-free zone through peaceful dialogue. For example, in 1959, the DPRK proposed the establishment of a peace zone in Asia that is free from atomic weapons. In 1981, the DPRK put forth the proposal of establishing nuclear-free zone in Northeast Asia. In 1986, it came up with the proposal of making the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free and put active efforts to this end. The DPRK declared through a government statement, on June 23 1986, that it would not test, produce, stock or import nuclear weapons and would not allow stationing of foreign military bases including nuclear bases, nor allow foreign nuclear weapons to pass its territorial land, air and seas. The statement urged the U.S. government to stop bringing new nuclear weapons into South Korea, to withdraw all weapons already brought in South Korea step-by-step and to call off operation plans related to the use of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula. Thanks to the active efforts of the DPRK a, “Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” was adopted in January 1992.
The DPRK also endeavored to eliminate the nuclear threats from the U.S. through international law. It acceded to the NPT in December 1985, with the expectation that this would help remove the nuclear threat from the U.S. against the DPRK. And when the U.S. promised to suspend the “Team Spirit” series of joint military exercise for a nuclear war, the DPRK actively cooperated with the IAEA in six ad-hoc inspections during 1992 to 1993. However, the U.S. began to voice the so-called “suspicion on nuclear development” even before the completion of these inspections and initiated the “Resolution on Special Inspection” which targeted even sensitive military installations of the DPRK. The U.S. openly threatened the DPRK with nuclear weapons by resuming the “Team Spirit” series of joint military exercises.
Even international law failed to stop the U.S. Furthermore in 2002, the Bush administration accused the DPRK of forming “an axis of evil” in the State of the Union Address and published the “Nuclear Posture Review” that included the DPRK on the list of “Targets for Nuclear Pre-emptive Strike”. This endangered the security of the DPRK and the Korean nation in the extreme and calamities of a nuclear war loomed large. It was clear at that point, that all the DPRK’s efforts, either through dialogue or reliance on the international law have failed.
Balance of Power through Self-Reliance
Normally, it is said that states can pursue a policy of balance of power in two ways: by increasing their own power; or by adding their own power to that of other states, as when embarking upon a policy of alliances.
But relying on other’s power is not wise. It is the lesson of history and the reality of current international relations that one can only defend itself with its own strength. There is a bitter lesson recorded in the history of Korea that it was completely deprived of its sovereignty by foreign forces owing to the lack of its own strength. The tragic situations in several countries such as Iraq, Libya, and recently Syria, tell us that one’s own strength is the only means that guarantees its security. It is the reality of the current international relations that even traditionally friendly countries act in accordance with their own interests forming partnerships and cooperative relations with different countries.
Therefore, the only way to eliminate the imbalance of power on the Korean Peninsula is to strengthen the DPRK’s own power by gaining nuclear weapons. It is evident that one should be armed with nuclear weapons in order to secure the balance of power against a hostile nuclear state. The DPRK chose the option of nuclear armament – the inevitable self-defensive measure to defend its state and system from the constant nuclear threats from the U.S. In order to defend its sovereignty and security, the DPRK declared withdrawal from the NPT according to Article 10 of the treaty and, in October 2006, conducted its first nuclear test. It was not until the nuclear armament of the DPRK that the balance of power in Northeast Asia was basically established, which consequently reduced the danger of war markedly. This is proven by the fact that the U.S. has been cautious regarding the option of a military attack against the DPRK since the DPRK has possessed nuclear weapons.
However, having nuclear weapons itself does not mean that the balance of power is completely established. The more powerful the nuclear strike capability is, the greater the deterrence to aggression and nuclear war gets and the more firmly peace is guaranteed by the consequent establishment of balance of power.
The U.S. is now desperately attempting to deprive the DPRK of nuclear weapons while modernizing their own nuclear weapons in order to break the balance of power. The Obama Administration stated, in the “Quadrennial Defense Review Report” released in 2010, that the U.S. should maintain its nuclear arsenal. In the fiscal year 2013, even under the burden of over $17 trillion debt, the U.S. spent $17 billion in its nuclear renovation programs and decided to invest $1 trillion for a renovation program of its strategic nuclear weapons over 30 years. The US conducted a series of sub-critical nuclear tests in September and December 2010, February 2011 and December 2012, as well as several tests for examining the capacity of nuclear weapons using X-ray in March, July and September 2014.
In particular, the U.S. has spent a large amount of money for the development of “B61-12”, a new-type nuclear bomb, so as to make it possible to use nuclear weapons in actual battles as conventional weapons, not merely as deterrence. Since the Trump administration the U.S. is now pursuing nuclear weapons renovation programs more openly. In February 2017, President Trump said that the U.S. is never going to fall behind on nuclear powers and its nuclear arsenal should be at the top of the pack. This clearly shows the U.S. ambition to maintain nuclear supremacy that has even cast away the deceptive slogan of Obama, “World Free from Nukes”. Loudly voicing that the U.S. Navy is now the smallest it’s been since WWI, but it will be soon the largest it has ever been, the Trump administration is now planning to bolster its Navy including the increase of the number of aircraft carriers by 12. While conducting various missile test launches such as ICBM “Minuteman-3”, with the latest one conducted in this April, SLBM “Trident II D5” and etc., the U.S. is now accelerating the modernization of the missile defense system. The U.S. is going to invest $230million into the development of laser-equipped drones to be added to the missile defense network. The U.S. does not bother to hide that its renovation of nuclear weapons is aimed at the DPRK. The world has witnessed that the Trump administration clamored of military option against the DPRK dragging nuclear aircraft carrier strike groups like “Carl Vinson” and nuclear submarines like “Michigan” into Korean waters and openly conducting exercises to drop nuclear bombs with nuclear strategic bomber “B-1B” during the joint military exercises “Key Resolve” and “Foal Eagle” staged just before.
All in all, it is none other than the U.S. that has compelled the DPRK to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Is has also propelled its further development in nuclear weapons in order to keep the balance of power in its favor. In 2013, the DPRK put forward the strategic line of simultaneously promoting economic construction and building up of the nuclear forces, the Byongjin line, and legalized it. Last year, the DPRK conducted its first H-bomb and nuclear warhead tests – thus joining the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states. To implement the Byongjin line, which is the line of the state, the DPRK took measures to strengthen its strategic nuclear forces, for example, displaying miniaturized nuclear warheads, environmental simulation for the re-entry of ballistic missile into the atmosphere, jet tests of high-thrust engines and test firing various means. Now, it has entered in the final stage of preparation for the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
The times when the U.S. could unilaterally threaten the DPRK with nuclear weapons have passed forever and the former now feels fear and threats from the latter. Even though the U.S. stages war games at the doorstep of the DPRK every year, it dares not to attack the DPRK. If the DPRK did not have access to nuclear weapons, it would have already been conquered by the U.S. long time ago. This is clearly illustrated by the latest fact that the U.S., in April, did not do anything to the DPRK even with its huge nuclear strike means gathered at the latter’s doorstep while having attacked non-nuclear states, namely Syria, without any hesitation.
As the DPRK resolutely advanced on the road of nuclear armament and its development with a do-or-die spirit and indomitable will, the balance of power has been established and peace is being guaranteed on the Korean Peninsula – greatly contributing to the regional and global peace and stability.
Strengthening its own force, i.e. boosting self-defense capability with nuclear forces as its pivot as well as preemptive strike capability, is the only way to keep peace on the Korean Peninsula. This is the historic truth which has been discovered in the protracted struggle of the DPRK for defending peace and which is proved by the stern reality on the Korean Peninsula.
Even if criticized or blamed by some others and even if faced with harsh trials and obstacles, the DPRK will firmly defend peace and security of the state at all costs and by its own efforts and make a positive contribution to safeguarding global peace and stability.
O Chol Yong is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Disarmament and Peace (IDP), DPRK and has joined ISDP for a one month as a visiting fellow.
The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author/s only and are in no way endorsed by ISDP or its sponsors. While efforts are made to ascertain facts, quality control is not as stringent as for other series.
What Does Denuclearisation Really Mean?
In full view of the international media, the destruction of North Korea’s nuclear testing ground at Punggye-ri went ahead on 24 May. Yet hours later, US President Donald Trump announced […]
The Washington-Seoul Alliance in the Time of North Korea’s Denuclearization
Following a dangerous escalation of tensions last year, few could have envisaged the rapid turnaround in events witnessed so far amidst a flurry of high-level summit diplomacy. Although the complete denuclearization […]
If Not North Korea, Who Will Be Japan’s Chief Antagonist?
The last year has seen sharp turns in the relationships between North Korea and its neighbors. After tough rhetoric back and forth between the United States and North Korea, we […]
Breaking Deadlock on the Korean Peninsula? Four Perspectives
Summary Can the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula be resolved and how? What are the strategic interests of the parties and their differences? What steps are needed to prevent […]
Nordkorea – strategisk hotspot
Kina är delvs bundet av sitt vänskapsavtal med Nordkorea. Den kinesiska regeringen har dock gjort klart att man inte intervenerar om Nordkorea provocerar fram en konflikt, och det är tveksamt att man militärt skulle stödja landet utan en direkt amerikansk invasion av Nordkorea som hotar kinesiska intressen, skriver Niklas Swanström.
Japan and North Korea: Toward Engagement for Regional Security
The current situation on the Korean Peninsula has invited debate on Japan’s perennial issue of constitutional revision. While this is a high-profile issue, other measures are needed to reduce tensions. […]