Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where Next for North Korea's Foreign Policy?

How will North Korea pursue foreign relations in the post-Kim Jong-il era? It is not an easy task to predict at a time when it remains uncertain exactly who will take power and through what process. But it is possible to estimate what policy choices North Korea will be given based on the behavior the Kim Jong-un regime has shown so far and from the responses of neighboring countries.

North Korea held talks with the U.S. over the resumption of the stalled six-party nuclear talks until just a few days before the announcement of Kim Jong-il's death on Dec. 19. During talks in Beijing on Dec. 15 and 16, the North apparently accepted Washington's requirements for the resumption of the six-party talks, including the freezing of its uranium enrichment facilities in Yongbyon and allowing the return of IAEA inspectors to verify this. In return, the U.S. is believed to have pledged 240,000 tons of nutritional supplements and other food aid to the North. Kim's death scuppered the deal, but the possibility has not disappeared completely. Read More