North Korea: East Asia’s Strategic Outlier |

North Korea: East Asia’s Strategic Outlier


The effort to inhibit North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is among the longest running and least successful sagas in international security and non-proliferation policy of the past quarter century. Despite episodic, partial diplomatic successes and North Korea’s repeated calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the DPRK has stymied, defied, deferred, and circumvented all efforts to ensure compliance with its formal non-proliferation obligations. Its actions and policies have also had a disproportionate effect on East Asian security. How has this isolated, vulnerable, profoundly self-referential political system assembled and sustained the building blocks for a nuclear weapons program? How has it resisted and prevailed against all odds, in the face of opposition from adversaries and allies alike? Is it more attributable to a failure of political will and diplomatic imagination, or is it better explained by factors internal to the North Korean system and to the regime’s perceptions of its place in the world? What are the potential implications should North Korea prove able to indefinitely sustain its nuclear activities and infrastructure? What are the policy implications under such circumstances for the United States, East Asia, and the non-proliferation regime?

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Jonathan D. Pollack, Professor, Asian and Pacific Studies and Chairman, Asia-Pacific Studies Group at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Tuesday, 13 April 2010
2.30 p.m. - 3.30 p.m.

Seminar Room 5-2, Level 5, Block B, Faculty of Law,
NUS Bukit Timah Campus
469G Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259776

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