North Korea's nuclear weapons program : the futility of denuclearisation negotiations
Habib, Benjamin Luke
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North Korea is unlikely to willingly relinquish its nuclear program because of its importance to the political economy of the DPRK state and the perpetuation of the Kim regime. Two observations give rise to this conclusion: First, the development of North Korea’s nuclear program has been a long-term project spanning several decades. At no stage has Pyongyang shown a commitment to its dismantlement. Second, denuclearisation negotiations have followed a cyclical pattern in which the North has provoked crises to make new demands and gain leverage in negotiations. By inference it is clear that the nuclear program has great intrinsic value to Pyongyang. This paper argues that the nuclear program has value as a bargaining chip in international diplomacy to extract economic inputs for its moribund economy, in domestic politics as vehicle for bureaucratic interests, and as a rallying symbol of the country’s hyper-nationalist ideology, as well as its role as a defensive deterrent and important cog in Pyongyang’s offensive asymmetric war strategy. For these reasons, the Kim regime is unlikely to seriously entertain nuclear disarmament.