Are There Any Ways to Break Through the Korean Nuclear Impasse?

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-5-5-16
O. Davydov,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 21.01.2024. Revised 24.02.2024. Accepted 07.03.2024.

Abstract. The article attempts to analyze the situation surrounding the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula. Today, the nuclear issue is a whole complex of issues related to security on the Korean Peninsula. These include, first of all, the implementation by the North Korean leadership of programs to create nuclear and missile weapons in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the adoption by Pyongyang of a military doctrine allowing for the possibility of using nuclear weapons in the event of a conflict in Korea, as well as reciprocal steps from the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), aimed at implementing nuclear deterrence. Considering the reasons for the failure of international negotiations, the author pays attention to the proposals made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to conclude a peace treaty (non-aggression treaty) with the United States, as well as other North Korean initiatives aimed at normalizing relations with the U. S. By failing to respond rationally to these steps, Washington missed the opportunity to reach an agreement with Pyongyang on a mutually acceptable basis. Particular attention is paid to new aspects in the approaches of DPRK, which declares the “irreversibility” and “legitimate nature” of its nuclear status. Today, the path to a nuclear settlement on the Korean Peninsula appears to be much more difficult than it was a decade ago, and certainly during the Six-Party Talks (2003–2008). Now the states involved are demonstrating mutual bitterness, categorical rejection of each other, and are relying primarily on forceful methods to protect their own interests. Therefore, returning to a normal diplomatic agenda, which alone will create a chance to resolve the nuclear and other problems of the Korean Peninsula, is possible only through de-escalation of confrontation, transition from military-political deterrence to restraint, and restoration of interrupted communication channels between interested states. Apparently, this will require time and considerable effort from all participants.

Keywords: nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearization, DPRK, USA, ROK, peace treaty, security guarantees, deterrence, escalation


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For citation:
Davydov O. Are There Any Ways to Break Through the Korean Nuclear Impasse?. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 5, pp. 5-16. EDN: KWYGPP

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