APLN Policy Brief 75
The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full brief.
The possibility of nuclear proliferation, and indeed nuclear confrontation, emanating from the Korean peninsula remains a serious threat to global security. The United Nations and major states have thus taken strong actions to counter the nuclear program of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Their response has vacillated between diplomacy and pressure, with sanctions as a key component. While the US has had a broad range of restrictive measures in place against North Korea since the Korean War in the 1950s, the UN Security Council only imposed sanctions on the country in 2006. However, it has since expanded sanctions “by an unprecedented number and scope of restrictions,” which have “effectively rendered the DPRK sanctions regime comprehensive.”
This Policy Brief argues that neither position is feasible. It makes concrete suggestions for a pragmatic middle-of-the-road approach, where some sanctions relief is granted in exchange for progress towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, with full termination of sanctions and the creation of a nuclear-free zone as the end goals. This is in line with an incremental negotiation strategy where the parties negotiate several agreements each building on the last until they reach a final settlement satisfying their core interests in the area of disarmament, security guarantees, political normalization, and economic cooperation. It is also in line with a more strategic utilization of existing sanctions to advance policy goals through a carefully calibrated bargaining framework.
About the Author
Thomas Biersteker is Gasteyger Professor of International Security at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.
David Lanz is Co-Head Mediation at swisspeace and Lecturer at the University of Basel.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.