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  • Author: Ching-Chang Chen, Denny Roy, Utpal Vyas
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The Kim Jong Un (KJU) regime, since its inception, has ratcheted up tension on the Korean Peninsula. His decision to dishonor what he had agreed to—a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches as well as the return of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors to Yongbyon—at several rounds of bilateral talks with the United States in February 2012 confirmed the belief that North Korea is a historically unpredictable and unreliable actor. Because the new North Korean leadership needed to fulfill its promise that North Korea would enter an “era of being a strong and prosperous nation ( gangseongdaeguk ),” pursuing economic recovery by easing tension through reconciliation with the international community, including the United States, was of significance. North Korea could have obtained nutritional assistance including corn, soy beans, vegetable oils, and ready-to-eat therapeutic food, but instead it initiated a string of provocations and hostile threats, which brought China's patience to the limits, strengthened UN sanctions, and consolidated the US position not to engage with North Korea before Pyongyang shows concrete steps for denuclearization. Hence, for the international observers, North Korea's gamble seemed to be a grave mistake.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, North Korea