North Korea: The Utilization of Nuclear Weapons for International Prestige

North Korea: The Utilization of Nuclear Weapons for International Prestige

By Hiroshi Nakatani*

It is striking that North Korea violated the agreement (the suspension of its nuclear program) concluded with the US earlier this year and launched the long-range missile, only to fail.[1] However, it was not surprising that it breached the agreement again given that it has, in fact, never fulfilled the commitment.[2] Because of North Korea’s actions the US food aid to the country has been halted.[3]

It is worth noting that, according to a document compiled by the Worker’s Party, North Korea’s actions have been inherited by the late Kim Jong IL, who allegedly ordered the nuclear program.[4] Now, the world is uneasily monitoring North Korea’s next move, which will most probably be the underground nuclear test – following the long-range missile launches in 2006 and 2009. North Korea appears to be carefully examining the time that its action will take place. It has been argued that the North exploits this crisis for diplomatic purposes, an act which is often called Nuclear Brinkmanship.[5] Continue reading

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The Role of Security Motivations in North Korea’s Nuclear Decisions

The Role of Security Motivations in North Korea’s Nuclear Decisions

By Hiroshi Nakatani

It was the last month that new progress was achieved between North Korea and the United States, concluding to the suspension of North Korea’s nuclear program.[i] In return for US food aid, North Korea has agreed to halt its nuclear project including long-range missile tests.[ii] However, surprisingly, North Korea has announced that it has reached the final phase of the preparation for the launch of the Unha-3 rocket, as a part of its space program.[iii] As a result Japan has deployed the four PAC-3 Interceptors in Okinawa and three Aegis destroyers have been shipped to the East Asia Sea for Missile Defense.[iv] In order to identify the reasons for this action, it is crucial to examine why North Korea is in desperate need of its indigenous nuclear arsenals. Generally speaking, three or five common nuclear motivations are considered.[v] Yet, this essay shall attempt to particularly analyze whether the security driver prompts North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons.

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The Impact of Domestic Politics on North Korea’s Nuclear Decisions

by Hiroshi Nakatani

It is generally believed that there are three or five common motivations that drive nuclear proliferation.[4] Notwithstanding the fact that “security” is considered as a main nuclear motivation, it shall not be examined; instead, this essay shall focus on the “domestic politics” motivation since North Korea has a peculiar political system. Without mention, domestic policy-making is a highly sophisticated process while an important policy like a nuclear program is the final product of institutional and specific fractions disputes.[5] As Colin Gray notes, after all every single policy is ultimately determined within states.[6] Specifically, North Korean nuclear motivations are divided into three categories: shields, swords and badges.[7] More importantly, the causes of nuclear proliferation differ from nation to nation.[8] That means that some motivations are important for some states but they are less important for other states. Continue reading