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DPRK’s Nuclear Issue and Sino-US Relations

Author: GaoDi
Tutor: LiuYuAn
School: Shandong University
Course: International political
Keywords: DPRK’s nuclear issue Six-Party Talks Sino-US relations
CLC: D822.371.2
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 425
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Since the first breakout of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear crisis in the 1990s, this issue has troubled Korean Peninsula and even Northeast Asia area nearly 20 years. During this period, the DPRK’s nuclear issue has undergone two crises which happened in 2002 and 2009 respectively, and has been evolving from the bilateral DPRK-US dispute to the core element of multilateral regional security issue in Northeast Asia. From DPRK-US bilateral contacts to Four-Party Talks, Three-Party Talks and Six-Party Talks in multilateral framework, the crisis has involved several most influential countries. It is not only the regional security issue in Northeast Asia but also becomes the "focus" of international politics and the top trouble-maker in global security area. The academic circles has paid much attention to this issue and explored deeply into it from different perspectives, including the origin and essence of the DPRK’s nuclear issue, the different national strategy and policy towards this issue, the great power relations, the Six-Party Talks regime, the process and mechanism of regional cooperation and so on.This dissertation holds the view that the prisoner’s dilemma between DPRK and the U.S.A., the uncertain policy resolution of the U.S.A. towards the issue, the special status of China as well as Sino-US divarications on the basic rules of national relations and basic standpoints of international politics make the DPRK’s nuclear issue actually reflect the Sino-US relations. The dissertation sticks closely to the Sino-US relations in the process of the DPRK’s nuclear issue which is the key variable, to explore and analyze the origin and basic essence of the DPRK’s nuclear issue, the reasons of upgrade of the DPRK’s nuclear issue and the strategic adjustment of DPRK, the importance of the Sino-US relations to the development of the DPRK’s nuclear issue, the future trends of the issue and so on. The preliminary conclusions of this dissertation is as follows:First of all, the geo-strategic position of the Korean Peninsula and the complex international relations with peripheral powers led by its position are the origin of the DPRK’s nuclear issue. The Korean Peninsula is located in the transfer site of the continent and the ocean and it is the buffer zone of continental forces and marine forces which could control the ocean. In addition, it is recognized as the "fracture zone" area by major powers, because these powers strongly agree that they all have their own national interests in.the area and need to have fierce competition to protect their interests. The large-scale conflict could erupt at any time and it usually escalates step by step, series by series, which is easy to make external forces involved. The crisis in peninsula easily induces and leads to interference, for that reason, the peninsula adjusts its internal strategies randomly, which leads to the complex international relations with peripheral powers. The Korean Peninsula has deep, inherent "power intervention brand" due to its important geo-strategic position determined by special geographical location. By examining the history and reality of the Korean Peninsula, it is easy to find out that the "power intervention brand" is essentially "Sino-US brand" in the DPRK’s nuclear issue.Secondly, the United States, as the center of the international community, can not shirk its responsibility for the upgrade and dead-lock of the DPRK’s nuclear issue. The U.S.A. never has a clear and consistent policy decision towards the DPRK nuclear issue and might even consider DPRK’s trading conditions seriously. It is can be said that it is the U.S.A.’s wrong decision-making considerations, situation misunderstanding as well as policy failures towards the DPRK’s nuclear issue that mainly lead to the stagnancy of nuclear crisis solution and even to the opposite extreme. This is mainly because the United States is trapped by its own contradictions on the DPRK’s nuclear issue solutions. The first contradiction is to eliminate DPRK’s nuclear program completely vs. to subvert DPRK regime. The basic political condition to abandon the nuclear development proposed by DPRK is that the U.S.A. should change the hostile policy toward DPRK and admit the Kim Jong II regime. For the U.S.A., it is totally unacceptable to supply great amount of financial assistance to maintain the current the DPRK regime and have a peaceful coexistence with it. The second contradiction is to prevent nuclear proliferation vs. to maintain the U.S.A. military presence in East Asia. The final result of prevent nuclear proliferation might greatly lead to the end of war state in the peninsula and achieve normalization of DPRK-US relations, which will challenge the legitimacy of the U.S.A. military troops in South Korea. Under the pair of two contradictions, the DPRK’s nuclear issue is hard to be smoothly resolved as other nations’expectation. At the meantime, the decision-making uncertainty attitude objectively stimulates DPRK to go to the extreme, to enhance its military-first politics and to charge the "owning nuclear weapons" as a gamble. The extreme unreasonable initiatives of DPRK can be explained as the passive strategy adjustment to the U.S.A. unclear attitude. Therefore, the U.S.A. has an avoidable responsibility for the development of the DPRK’s nuclear issue to the present situation.Thirdly, the basic essence of the DPRK’s nuclear issue is that:DPRK is in the execrable security situation, the fundamental intention of extremely frequent nuclear initiatives is to seek more survival and developing right and space, rather than to dedicate to be a great nuclear power. The nuclear initiative is only to increase the bargaining chip with the U.S.A. and attract more attention of international community to strive for more favorable developing space. The self-contradiction and misjudgment of the U.S.A.’s policy towards the DPRK’s nuclear issue has delayed the time to solve the nuclear crisis properly and deteriorated the issue to such situation:DPRK passively "owning the nuclear weapons in order to survive".The consistent position and the basic norms to treat the inter-state relations of China is that every nation-state is equal no matter big or small, and has the right to choose its own development path. The Korean Peninsula issue should be solved by the Korean people. Although China could exert some influence on DPRK to certain degree, China has always been very cautious and controlled in this process. As a member of permanent Security Council and one of the world’s current acknowledged nuclear powers, China has been always against the nuclear weapons, development, and certainly not in favor of North Korea to develop its nuclear weapons. In the early time, China has declared the public statement to the world:China will never use nuclear weapons first. China develops nuclear weapons is in order to eliminate the nuclear weapons ultimately and China has strictly implemented its obligations of nuclear weapons non-proliferation. To treat the special member in the international community, China’s position to DPRK is first of all to oppose DPRK’s nuclear development and argue against with its "military-first politics." However, from the perspective of the international community, DPRK should be provided with a reasonable space for development. We should take the actual surviving conditions of DPRK into account, and respect its right to choose independent development paths and leave enough necessary time and space for its reform, development and change.Finally, although China and the U.S.A. have substantial oppositions.on the international political world view, social systems, political culture, social values and so on, especially on the DPRK’s nuclear issue, they have many divarications and competitions on the primary interest concerns, crisis management, the connotation of " peninsula and stability", the policy certainty and clarity and so on; while China and the U.S.A. have realized a kind of limited cooperation on the DPRK’s nuclear issue due to the common interest and target, moreover, this kind of limited cooperation promotes the development of the Sino-US relations objectively. Meanwhile, in the framework of multilateral security cooperation, the incensement of the Sino-US strategic mutual trust promotes the ultimate peaceful settlement of the DPRK’s nuclear issue to a large extent. However due to the differences of power structure and domestic politics, the Sino-US strategic mutual trust can not break through the realist barriers, and there is a long way to go to achieve the strategic mutual trust. The final settlement of the DPRK’s nuclear issue should be negotiated by two Koreas, it is about the peninsula reunification which is difficult to have substantial breakthrough in the short term. It requires long-term plan and strategic patience of parties. Till now, China and the U.S.A. are "in the same boat", which asks for restraint of both sides. Instead, they should take good care of their own things. Of course, we look forwards that the United States could adjust its strategy and decision to coordinate its strategic interests with the overall regional security pattern, to accept a peaceful coexistence with a nuclear-free, but regime-different DPRK, thereby promoting the satisfactory, peaceful and final resolution of the DPRK’s nuclear issue.

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