Negotiating with South Korea and the U.S.: North Korea's Strategy and Objectives

Seongwhun Cheon
April 2012
International Journal of Korean Studies;Spring/Summer2012, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p144
North Korea has held a representative negotiating strategy. It is basically a double-strategy whose rhetoric masks its true intentions. Under this strategy, North Korea is good at launching a charm offensive in public, and, at the same time, buying time and preparing for a war or military provocation. In the North-South Korean relations context, this double strategy can be named the digging tunnel strategy. While shaking hands with South Korea and agreeing on historically important principles for peaceful unification in the early 1970s, the North Korean leadership ordered its military to dig up an invasion route and open a secret attack corridor. For the last twenty years of nuclear negotiations, North Korea has been persistent and consistent in applying its digging tunnel strategy whenever and wherever possible. As a result, all major nuclear agreements signed in this period have been betrayed by North Korea. North Korea's negotiating objectives have been two-fold. Strategically, it has aspired to win a constitutional struggle vis-à-vis South Korea. Tactically, North Korea has placed enormous efforts to undermine American's extended deterrence and alliance with South Korea. For North Koreans, removing the U.S. presence in South Korea has been the highest political and military objective. They consider the ROK-U.S. alliance as the most serious stumbling block to ending the constitutional struggle on their terms


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