North Korea's arms control policy and the challenge of South Korea's Sunshine policy
Arms control theory emphasizes the utility of the arms control process – it lessens international hostility and promotes inter-state co-operation. In the Cold War North Korea adopted a propagandistic and radical arms control policy in order to achieve its key national security strategic objective: the reunification of the Korean peninsula. In the post-cold War era this arms control approach was totally transformed – North Korean arms control policy became co-operative and pragmatic; focused not on reunification but rather on the sustainability and survival of the regime. This thesis identifies the main tenets of arms control theory and applies them to North Korea (Chapter 2). It characterizes North Korea’s arms control policy during the Cold War (Chapter 3) and notes and accounts for the transformation of arms control orientation and objectives in the post-Cold War era (Chapter 4). The thesis demonstrates the extent of this evolution through an analysis of North Korea’s policy towards key arms control issues (Chapter 5). It outlines the domestic and foreign influences on North Korean arms control policy. The specific characteristics of the North Korean leadership and its ruling ideology – the Juche Idea (Chapter 6) is contrasted with an analysis of external determinants, in particular South Korea’s Sunshine Policy (Chapter 7). The thesis concludes (Chapter 8) by arguing that this study of North Korean arms control policy provides a litmus test or barometer which indicates the orientation and objectives of North Korean national security strategy. In the post-cold War era North Korean arms control policy has aligned itself with arms control theory, and so this thesis provides a more comprehensive framework within which to understand North Korean foreign and security policy issues and how and why they evolve on the Korean peninsula.