Policy Papers - March 08, 2013
North Korea & the UN Security Council: Action, Reaction, Trust, and Mistrust
Eduardo Zachary Albrecht
North Korea’s underground nuclear test on February 12, 2013, was the latest in a series of provocations that form part of a slow-motion proliferation strategy. As the UN Security Council responded with sanctions in early March, the world body again contributed to a pattern of action, reaction, trust, and mistrust with the recalcitrant state.
These are the implications of this report on the relationship between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the UN Security Council. It explores the recent history of the relationship by analyzing four similar episodes—missile firings in July 2006, a nuclear test in October 2006, a second nuclear test in May 2009, and a rocket launch in April 2012—and the Security Council’s reaction in each case.
It finds the Security Council’s approach of responding to such provocations with expanded but largely rhetorical sanctions has played further into the hands of the DPRK: the more the government is chastised and isolated, the more it can exploit its gray area in the international legal system and portray itself as the legitimate defender of the Korean people against a hostile outside world.
To avoid contributing to the DPRK’s strategic interests, the author suggests that the Security Council consider removing itself from this cycle of action and reaction. Instead, it could focus on preventive actions at the technical level of existing sanctions. This way, the Council would stay one step ahead of the DPRK, diminish the state’s reliance on the proliferation narrative, and build a more sustainable foundation for moving toward lasting disarmament.
When new resolutions and statements are issued, the report further shows that a period of calm is more likely to ensue when their provisions address the strategic interests of major regional players—and not just those of the DPRK.
About the Author:
Eduardo Zachary Albrecht is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International Relations at Pukyong National University in South Korea.
The Global Observatory
Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
September 25, 2014
Estonian President: Russia’s Actions Threaten International System
On September 25th, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia warned that Russia’s recent aggression in Ukraine is a threat to the norms of the international system as we know them, and that it may lead to a drastic reassessment of foreign policy priorities in Europe.
September 22, 2014
Kevin Rudd, Former Australian PM, to Chair Independent Commission on Multilateralism
Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, will chair the newly launched Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM). The Commission will be co-chaired by Børge Brende, Foreign Minister of Norway, and John Baird, Foreign Minister of Canada.
September 22, 2014
IPI Hosts Ministers, Officials at Annual Mideast Dinner
On Monday, September 22nd, IPI held its Ninth Ministerial Dinner on the Middle East in its Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security, and Development. The working dinner saw the participation of foreign ministers and other high-level representatives from the Middle East and North Africa, Europe, and beyond.
September 30, 2014
Video: The Theory and Practice of International Order
September 26, 2014
Video: Human Rights Up Front
September 25, 2014
IPI Remembers Margaret Vogt