North Korea tends to be a state of the 21st century that redefines realism in the contemporary era while concentrating on protecting its sovereignty by making self-help the primary concern. US-North Korea bilateral relations face fluctuations. North Korean intentions have progressed from the Realism thought, now willing to attain security maximization along with maximizing its power based on the notions of defensive and offensive realism. The supremacy of North Korea does not quench as the Nuclear might in Northeast Asia; it aims to attack mainland USA with its developed technology. The study concentrates on the Clinton and Bush administration as a special reference. Recognizing the North Korean nuclear program would be intolerable for the International Community as it goes against all norms set by the powerful states for the world.
US, North Korea, Northeast Asia, Realism, Security, Denuclearize, Negotiation.
Beginning of the 21st century brought along with itself a new dimension to all views of the globe that had the same frames before. The formation of terrorist in the new order had already shaken the world from its roots, as they represented an ideology that was without a proper boundary, making the possible presence of foe throughout the world. This beginning of the new understanding of threats made America more determined to follow the ABC (Anything but Clinton) strategy in 2001 when Bush came to power and brought with him new understandings of world politics. The nuclear tests conducted by North Korea in 2006 were a response to significant yet fluctuating relations with the US they have been enduring for a long time. The mission of conducting nuclear tests is considered as attention-seeking tact by the Pyongyang administration that wanted to be in the light for the Washington office to take notice of.
The elected office of Bush refused bilateral talks with Kim and adopted a policy to neglect the regime despite any actions presented by North Korea. It pronounced seeing peaceful solutions through diplomatic assignments, yet it showed a cold shoulder to any progression in the relation between the two states. President Bush played his politics after taking over the seat and announced his clean intent towards North Korea and that USA does not want to strike an attack against them. This backs the claims of fundamental differences between the administrative decisions of Clinton and Bush where perceiving the North Korean nuclear danger is concerned. US leadership under Bush never considered North Korea worth any negotiation. The aggressive regime of North Korea is given the Hawk Policy, which shall provide a suitable outcome for the rebellion. Whereas the Clinton office had always given the doubt of having the security dilemma to the Kim regime.
Bush administration never laid trust when approaching the Kim administration. Bush considered Kim Jing-Il to be an enemy and stressed upon a comprehensive approach to understanding the North Korean stance. Bush believed that this way, they shall understand what the regime seeks from the international system more effectively and formulate the American Foreign Policy towards them. President Bush had made it clear that America shall respond with appropriate actions to any response given by North Korea. The American President’s officials were on the same page as him, speaking the same language against the dictator led regime.
The Clinton officials show criticism on stepping back from the successful engagement missions North Korea got involved in and dishonored the Agreed Framework of 1994 between the two states. They assert pressure on the new officials of mismanaging the carefully handled aggression of the North Korean leadership, which was lessening itself as a threat to American soil and sovereignty. The Clinton administration interpreted the North Korean nuclear illegitimacy as its need for survival and self-help, and its leader to be practical and rational when it comes to protecting the state and its citizens. These officials from the Clinton administration thought of creating trust with the insecure state of North Korea against the odds it had to face by the cold war enthusiasts, making it rigid and prune to get nuclearized militarily. They believed that gradually with the strategies similar to what America had already used after World War II (economic aid and development programs), North Korea can be convinced into giving up the nuclear program.
According to Clinton officials, the realism approaches that explain sufficiently how the North Korean security dilemma are categorized under structural realism; defensive realism, since the dread is from the powers having different ideologies hovering near the Yellow Sea. Whereas Bush officials, on the other hand, take it as offensive realism because Bush perceived it as an attempt to security maximization by North Korea, inherently an expansionist state. The circumstances give birth to the security dilemma then. The worrying states then have to comprehend what exactly the other states want to pursue and what exactly is the relative power, in fear, the states seem to adopt revisionist strategies. Offensive realism opens the eyes for the world to then understand that there will be mutual hostility then prevailing amongst the states.
In International Relations, war and peace have been established as the bread and butter of global politics. In this regard, the realist means of self-help and state survival are taken into consideration such that many scholars have analyzed the North Korean nuclear program to be acceptable as per its security concerns. North Korea is an authoritarian regime that does not allow much information to encompass out of its territory. This study includes the many possibilities and involvements by various actors and analysis by scholars to have a stern understanding of the whole arena. Many researchers brought evidences from modern history to comprehend the trends of these nuclear aspirants with respect to America.
Research studies have given the comparison of North Korean aggression to be brought along other troubled states, along with the consequences. There has been analysis provided by James T. Laney along with Jason T. Shaplen showing concerns in case of the American initiation of the attack, North Korea would also not waste time in acquiring their share of nuclear technology. (Laney and Shaplen, 2003) North Korea feared to get attacked and become America’s next target after finishing the war in Iraq, which it had invaded. As the North Korean Foreign Ministry Spokesman said on May 21, 2010, America will have to pay a huge cost in case of invading North Korea (like in Iraq) on false claims of possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction. (Policy Statement, 2010)
Chun has also placed his argument having the same concerns of North Korea, keeping the nuclear arsenal and not giving up its nuclear capabilities. The dictator regime of Kim felt a constant hoovering threat by America, especially in 1991, when there was a nuclear weapons withdrawal by the US from the Korean peninsula. Furthermore, he also compared the situation with Iraq, giving a silent message to North Korea. He shares the concern by claiming that a dictator led regime can be highly vulnerable, in terms of security of the state, especially without having enough deterrence to deal with the enemy. (Chun, 2010)
Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. places his argument that discusses two events showing relevancy to the ambiguity in relations with the US, blaming them as reasons of encouragement to nuclear development of North Korea. According to him, the first event is in 2003 when Libya gave up its Weapons of Mass Destruction program because of the pressure from the US that eight years later, it attacked Syria in 2011. The other advent he proposes is the Israeli attack on al Kibar, the North Korean reactor which was under construction in Syria in 2007. (Bermudez Jr, 2015)
The study shows his understanding of the claim that these two events triggered the North Korean regime, giving them a realization of these victim states. In case they owned nuclear weapons to defend their sovereignty, such interventions would not have been witnessed. Thus, modern history had its part in accelerating the North Korean process of nuclear and missile programs. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson told on March 22, 2011, that “the ‘Libyan way of abandoning Nuclear weapons’ which the US has exaggerated so far, has been revealed in the face of the international community … deterrent to prevent war and defend peace and stability in the Korean peninsula.” (North Korea, 2011)
Primarily the concerns lie with the US when talking about the nuclear issue of North Korea how the response should be when defending or offending under the principles of realism. The US relations with North Korea seemed stable after the signing of the Geneva Agreed framework. It was until President George W. Bush, in 2001, called North Korea initially a ‘rogue state’ and declared the state of being an ‘axis of evil’ like Iran and Iraq after 9/11. (Campbell and Ward, 2003) Victor Cha then has suggested using ‘the hawk engagement’ to test the North Korean intent for figuring out policies to engage, or isolate and hold should be selected according to the result. (Cha, 2002)
Whereas the study by David C. Kang suggests, the United States embrace the non-capitalist existence of North Korea and understand that sanctions would not affect the North Korean regime. His findings portray that as soon as America comprehends the security threat that North Koreas perceives from it will be time thy have a solution to the contention. He has claims for guarantee about security measures the United States should provide concerns about its military action. He also places his thought where North Korea may be able to consider the international environment less dangerous if this inclusion strategy is brought into action, making the benefits to openness recognizable to it. (Kang, 2003)
As a strategic asset, North Korea plays the role of a geopolitical buffer zone by giving resistance to the US strategy of surrounding China in East Asia. (Youngju, 2016) Whereas in terms of strategic burden, it may prove to be troublesome for China as it shows intentions to improve relations with Northeast Asia and have a better image in the world. (Tae-hong, 2016) North Korea is undergoing a serious monetary crisis. Yet in this time of difficulty, it is not trying to join or balance, having prominent differences in power with the United States. Also, no attempts are seen to strengthen ties with China after the Soviet collapse, being the sole ally to balance power with America.
The Korean Peninsula in the contemporary era is facing complex issues due to the North Korean nuclear program that creates conflict with the United States and South Korea. The United States intends to neutralize the North Korean nuclear threat by complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement. The seriousness of this conflict can lead to escalation of the war in Northeast Asia, exacerbated by American involvement. It is much needed to analyze the situation from a theoretical perspective (Realism) in order to reflect on the past and predict the future course.
This research gives a detailed view of the nuclear acquisition of North Korea under the umbrella of realism. The analysis talks about the progress of the nuclear issue and its link with the roots with the realist perspective. Under the basic concepts of realism, the North Korean nuclear issue helps us deduce the basis of its existence. They, being state survival, self-help, the balance of power and threat, give a clearer image to understand policies of the states involved in this North Korean nuclear concern. Based on the notions of ‘security maximizer’, which pursues defensive realism-based survival and ‘power maximizer’ where hegemony is based on offensive realism, these. This helps the study to understand and look at the stance states adopted in this nuclear issue.
E. H. Carr has also placed his argument, saying, “there is no authority above the state capable of imposing moral behaviour on it.” (Carr, 1946) This ends with utopian thoughts that deny the reality of the international system being anarchic. In this chaotic world, Kenneth Waltz declares that a state ought to have self-help in order to secure itself because, in practicality, no other state will ensure its security. (Waltz, 1979) In this regard, the need to enhance military forces and set up diplomatic relations will be seen by the sovereign states to deter the external threats being posed. This will leave behind a favourable security environment for all actors. The basis of the issue can be traced back to more than 60 years when the conflict appeared in 1950 in the Korean peninsula. Threatening each other’s survival since then, they progressed in military capabilities and alliances with powerful states.
With full support from the US, South Korea secured its survival against Chinese backed North Korea. Considering the discussion, further analysis to understand the North Korean nuclear enthusiasm can also be the defensive realism point of view. John J. Mearsheimer claims that when a superpower has become a regional hegemon, it will maintain the equilibrium of power in other regions as an offshore balancer. (Mearsheimer, 2001) By keeping the troops deployed in South Korea and having a check on China’s rapid growth, the US is acting like a Cold War souvenir by intervening in the Korean region. Whereas China intends to defend the buffer zone of North Korea, alongside ensuring its regional supremacy by having a close check on the US.
As directed by scholars, the research methodology is an essential part of the research since it will determine the authenticity of the study. This research uses a single case study methodology to study North Korea’s progress made in its nuclear program and seek a solution to the conflict by analyzing contemporary affairs. The conduct of study lies between the border sharing states, South Korea and North Korea, having an American and Chinese influence. Like other international conflicts, this nuclear dilemma is coiled with the interests of other states like Japan and Russia, which are coupled in the Korean peninsula.
Nuclear Crisis of 1990s: Bush & Clinton Administration
A close view of the Foreign Policy formulation must be discussed when the two Presidential bodies deeply involved in the changing scenario are subjected. Both have played their role in the dynamics of the nuclear technology of the 1990s. The tussle continued between the officials of the Clinton and Bush administrations that blamed each other for adopting irrational policies when dealing with Kim Jong-Il led North Korea. What should have been overcame was the gap between the two US administrations that headed the matter very diversely, which also explains the difference in Foreign Policy America had towards North Korea too. Though initiatives were also brought to the table that could resolve the issue to have global peace, the regimes could not be convinced enough.
President George Herbert Walker Bush and his administration in the earlier part of the 1990’s decade believed in keeping measures towards North Korea such that they refrain from deviating from the rules set by the international communities. President Bush when in power offered many initiatives just so North Korea gives up its weaponry, mainly aiming for a fruitful diplomatic dialogue. These include complete withdrawal of strategic arms from South Korea and eliminate Team Spirit military exercises between US and South Korea. These were means to get hold of North Korean faith in the hands of the US, especially when subjecting the nuclear program. The situation is then analyzed under defensive realism that calls the role of Sr. Bush administration towards North Korea’s security dilemma to be highly cardinal in easing tensions between the two.
Though for a limited time, North Korea considered this cooperation and till the second half of 1992 it responded to the process of appeasement.
Washington and Pyongyang joined hands actively in the Agreed Framework of 1994. (Masterson, 2019) The administration under Bill Clinton discerned North Korea as a state needing recognition and security, and hence the future if IAEA was also in need to reach an optimum discourse. The threat of sanctions or war did not completely dissolve with the progression in relations but the trust that was built allowed time for both parties to rethink and develop a corner for negotiations and talks under the diplomatic grounds. Initially, even the Clinton administration did not begin with diplomatic talks and considered striking North Korea as the Peninsula seemed to be at threat from the nuclear aggravation.
South Korea opposed the attack on North Korea, though it was an ally of the US and had ideological differences with the North. The official setup under the Senior Bush administration had believed along with the officials of North Korea that there would be no fruitful outcome of using diplomacy to solve the issue. There was internal unsettlement in America regarding this, as bureaucracy, Pentagon, and Congress had diverse concerns in carrying out successful diplomacy. Thus, having a Hawkish policy approach for North Korea was never a primary desire of the Washington office. They wished to carry out positive and dynamic engagements when diplomacy with North Korea was concerned.
In his last days at the Presidential office, Ronald Reagan displayed his modest approach to carry out diplomatic dialogues on 31st October 1988, at Beijing in China. (Sigal, 1999) Since then, till 1991, there was a series of meetings between the embassies of the two states. These exchanges did not show much significance and were considered vague at Washington but still are used as means of developing peaceful talks amongst the two states. The US received intelligence reports in 1989 that had nuclear fuel reprocessing and additional reactors being set up about sixty miles away from Pyongyang to the north in Yongbyon. (Yongbyon, 2000) There began a smooth flow of travel, exchange of events and trade with North Korea allowed by the US.
Soon in 1990, export was further made easy after the Trading with the Enemy Act made trading convenient after authorizing $1.2 billion mostly for consumption supplies to North Korea. (Sigal, 1999) North Korea responded with assurance to the United States that it did not have its support for terrorism continued and returned belongings of the American military that had about eight thousand soldiers missing during the Korean War and coming under the umbrella of the IAEA for getting its nuclear activities monitored. The Bush administration in the early 1990s showed their content towards the increasing ties with North Korea and presented policies that were appealing to officials of both sides.
In early phase of 1991, Richard Solomon, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, framed options in an interagency review of North Korea. (Litwak, 2000) Firstly, North Korea would be signing the IAEA safeguards agreement while America would lift any travel or trade restrictions previously imposed on them. Secondly, the US would have diplomatic dialogues with North Korea and would eliminate military exercises with South Korea, pull out the weapons stored there and provide assurance against the nuclear use. Thirdly, there would be cooperation between the two countries in diplomacy, economy and military. The bureaucracy in the United States did not find these options viable and opposed the first and the third policy being irrational.
With President Bush’s decision of withdrawing from South Korea, it was made easier for North Korea to come on common grounds. This was in 1991 when all these ally powers had come together just so North Korea could denuclearize itself and put an end to the program. (Masterson, 2019) Keeping the South nuclear free would be the only mechanism that could bring an end to any nuclear insecurities concerned with North Korea. This involved National Security Advisor to Kim Chong Whi, President of South Korea to have meetings with Paul Wolfowitz who was the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, along with Ambassador Donald Gregg to find an optimum for the nuclearized Korea.
Later in 1991, on 27th September, President Senior Bush withdrew nuclear weapons and completely disarmed the land and sea-based nuclear weaponry from the world. (Wampler, 2017) South Korea hosted about sixty B61 gravity bombs, which were no more available at Kunsan Air Base for US F-16s, and now to be removed completely. (Kristensen, 2017) This withdrawal was not appreciated by the political leadership, yet Bush did not back out and followed up with the decision.
This vivid picture North Korea got to see was beneficial enough for them to agree to the terms and conditions of the IAEA and become a signatory. Even though the US had already convinced itself to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and that the military does not require such advancement there. The events brought along a stimulus for North Korea is considering cooperation in the emerging nuclear technology, along with reciprocating the positivity shown by the Washington office. The justification provided by North Korea for not becoming a signatory of the IAEA was not accepted completely by the world powers as they said they feared US deployment in South Korea following the Korean War in 1957.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry appreciated the US intention of withdrawal from South Korea and decided to allow inspections of the IAEA within its region. (Sigal, 1997) North Korea agreed to sign the safeguards accord as soon as there is the removal of arsenal from South Korea on 25th November 1991. (Avenhaus, 2002) North Korea also proposed negotiations to simultaneously remove the mutual nuclear threats from the region. An agreement was reached on 13th December 1991 by both the Korean offices that focused upon development under reconciliation, nonaggression, exchanges and cooperation.
Soon after a few days, it was then in December 1991 that the South Korean President Roh Rae Woo announced the complete removal of nuclear weapons from their land to which North Korea gladly responded to sign the IAEA as soon as formal statements are recorded after thorough inspections. (Koo, 1994) Just after a few days on 31st December 1991, at Panmunjom a historic Joint Declaration for the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was signed between North and South Korea laying guidelines to no initiation, innovation, sharing or utilizing nuclear weapons. (Sigol, 1997)
Finally, on 30th January next year in 1992, North Korea gave a green signal for IAEA to come for international team inspections to trace any illegitimate nuclear possession, after signing of the agreement. After several delays, the agreement was finally ratified in April 1992. Until the next month, in May 1992, North Korea brought an end to reprocessing of spent fuel and also delayed removing nuclear fuel used up from the reactors. Then in May 1992, North Korea gave all necessary information to the IAEA and provided details about the seven nuclear power facilities that were ready to be explored by the authorities. The idea to neither reprocess nor defuel was also clarified and inspection at Yongbyon was also welcomed. There were seven inspections carried out from May 1992 till July 1993 to survey and have a close look over the nuclear asset sites. (Masterson, 2019)
The periodic assessments deduced by the US intelligence and the IAEA itself also confirmed to the concerned international community that North Korea did not resume to reprocess their nuclear advancement. Another significant event that made sure North Korea sign and consider IAEA supreme enough to conduct visits were the finishing of the Team Spirit exercises in 1992, which had been a practice of America with South Korea since 1976. North Korea had been using the Team Spirit exercise as an excuse to not let IAEA invade the sites, but this threat had also been addressed, like the presence of armaments in South Korea. For South Korea, it was their need to have a strong military to any alien threat and a routine movement to keep the soldiers at the foot, but it proved to be a worrying matter for North Korea as the US had its forces present there.
The Bush administration, along with South Korea, showed no reluctance and were positive about the change. The North Korean security concerns were a need for the USA and South Korea in addressing, especially the nuclear context. American Department of State was willing to put an end to Team Sprit just to win the confidence of North Korea, whereas South Korea only showed commitment to the alliance and accepted what the US proposed. South Korean leaders also saw the opportunity to convince North Korea for allowing the inspection for nuclear presence, even if the price is to give up the joint US training handshake, improving bilateral ties between both.
South Korea, ready to welcome new ties with North Korea after it completely denuclearizes itself. The Team Spirit 1992 was also on the verge to be given up by South Korea to have a peaceful Korean Peninsula. The only delay in protracting the cancellation of the exercise, as shared in December by South Korea at the North-South nuclear meeting, was the awaited signature of North Korea on the IAEA agreement. With President Senior Bush’s visit to South Korea in January 1992 came a deferral in the Team Spirit exercise as the US and South Korea wanted to provide compensation and award North Korea for the adaptation it has reflected to the world in compromising its nuclear assets. (Litwak,2009)
It was 7th January 1992 when South Korea declared ending the exercise with a formal announcement to which North Korea gave a reciprocal proclamation of signing the safeguards agreement of IAEA. (2003) It was then in October of 1992, at the US-South Korea Security Consultative meeting, that decided to resume the Team Spirit in 1993 by the members present there. (Sigol, 1997) This announcement was purposely made silent until North Korea finally finishes the delay in signing the IAEA agreement. Team Spirit proved to be a tool that Bush used for negotiating North Korean matters. This device had been used to force North Korea in agreeing to the demands of the US.
Many officials from the Washington office did not agree to the idea of delaying the exercise and thought it might instigate North Korea to bring harm. Members of the Seoul office has their concerns pinned to resuming the exercise, whereas the Bush administration had no plans of immediately overruling their decision. Team Spirit then had its second birth in 1993 when Clinton administration arrived at the office. North Korea showed great dislike to rolling back of the decisions. 8th March 1993 was the date of the exercise relapsing but this move ignited North Korea to show its anger to the United States and intended to withdraw from the NPT within ninety days. (Masterson, 2019) This called for an immediate meeting between the US and North Korea, which was an attraction for America to comply with.
The sitting is said to be a great benchmark of the 1990s as this date had major officials sitting together for an ascending cause. The US, in this meeting came up with a list of several steps that North Korea has to ratify which included the IAEA verification and the North-South nuclear agreement. The United States was also willing to soften corners for North Korea in return and appear in the good books of North Korea. They were in the mood of continuing the economic assistance and diplomatic negotiations when coming in contact with North Korean leadership. America began their cold response towards North Korea then. The US though of the destiny of North Korea to be in their own hands and that for a promising future they must comply with American demands on nuclear tests.
The meeting by all means, was centric to North Korea, but the US called off the sittings without negotiation and only clarified their own stance. They even saw the North Korean reluctance to sign the IAEA as being highly uncooperative and not as a means to develop understanding against giving up nuclear technology. The meeting proved to be important for both parties, as now the North Korean security concerns were being addressed as well, as Bush’s attempts to appease them were also noticed. In this regard, the Bush administration that showed a Hawkish strategy made Clinton’s strategy in comparison seem Dovish. Bill Clinton’s administration always dealt with North Korea as a state that needed to be taken into confidence. The administration tended to adopt diplomacy to resolve the crisis, and thus they came up with the Agreed Framework. Without this Framework, the modern-day situation of the nuclear crisis would have been worsened, as the Agreement resisted the fissile material manufacture that North Korea could use to empower the nuclear.
The engagement policy adopted by the Clinton office addressed the security dilemma that seemed like a major concern to North Korea. This security dilemma is the reason of elevating the nuclear program by North Korea throughout. The Clinton administration was not always showing the soft corner towards North Korea and had sanctions and attacks in case of situation escalation. Clinton showed open court for talks to take place but in case of any aggression rising from the North Korea, he did not show reluctance in subsiding the ignition. The relations between North Korea and IAEA were deteriorating ever since Clinton took charge of the Presidential office and there was no sign of high-level talks amongst these two states.
In February 1993 the inspection team at the IAEA wanted permission to have a look at two Yongbyon sites which were thought to be waste storage for nuclear processing. North Korea refused for any inspections and claimed these sites to not have any link with nuclear development or militarization. In the beginning of Clinton’s tenure, there was no approach to carry out nuclear deals with North Korea though they were uncertain themselves about pulling back North Korea from acquisition of nuclear bombs. In context of Team Spirit decision of 1993, they did not want to alter any decisions made by Senior Bush.
The officials of the Clinton administration did not find the Team Spirit exercise to be any longer necessary, but the reaction of South Korea was more outweighed than worrying about reaction from North Korea. The cancellation and uncertainty of conducting Team Spirit and hovering political risks of Washington were a main concern for the Senior Clinton administration. The June and July of 1993 had heated bilateral sittings of US with North Korea. (Masterson, 2019) The US reflected its will to help the North Korean regime to produce the light-water reactors. This benefitted the global arena such that now North Korea was convinced to have IAEA talks on inspection issues and conduct bilateral meetings with South Korea, specifically regarding the nuclear stew.
The mild attitude of Clinton adopted a tough line after high-level talks and depicted North Korea as scariest place on the planet, and embossing criticism on its means to attain self-help throughout history. On 10th July 1993 President Clinton made a visit to South Korea and addressed their National Assembly, cautioning them to be aware of North Korea producing Scud missile technology and selling it to the Middle Eastern countries. He also visited the De-Materialized Zone and declared ending the state of North Korea if they made use of nuclear weapons. Though consultations were allowed for IAEA and South Korea, there still had been many restrictions on the inspectors to revisit the nuclear facilities of North Korea.
It was then that the US canceled the high-level talks that were to commence from 21st March 1994. Whereas in terms of South Korea, it resumed to consultation for restoring the Team Spirit exercise. The Clinton administration showed a vague response to the Team Spirit restoration and later decided to postpone it, with the hope to convince North Korea for reopening talks and allowing inspections. On the other hand, they started making grounds for implementing the Security Council’s resolution of imposing economic sanctions. These plans were threatened to be executed if North Korea allows inspections after announcing to remove about 8,000 spent fuel rods from its five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon. (Crail, 2008)
However, economic sanctions were the last stage and were to be adhered after elimination of UN technical assistance, ending of scientific and cultural exchanges were initially held. The Clinton administration gave a month-long probation period before the sanctions could come into effect in the UNSC draft that implements the sanction resolution. In this month, the IAEA and North Korea were entitled to safeguard their relationship with each other. North Korea denied any such dynamics and America initiated measures to ban any export of arms, commercial activities, technical and cultural assistance on them.
With the escalation in nuclear crisis the Clinton administration was prepared to surgically strike North Korea just for the sake of resisting their desire to nuclearize their weaponry, though South Korea had only opposed war. The basic fear of US remained from North Korea that threatened to redirect plutonium from a nuclear reactor for this disliked agenda. The US was prepared for striking under pre-emptive grounds on North Korea, as a demand of time. The former Defense Secretary William Perry and the Assistant Defense Secretary Ashton Carter narrated the preparations to strike the possible nuclear plants and utilize the American soldiers in uniform in 1994. (Commission, 2005) They did not fear the repercussions of war but felt it was a necessity to halt the dangerous North Korean nuclear program by force or else it could lead to global devastation.
The Clinton administration had reflected its willingness to discuss the nuclear problem with North Korea over any platform but for them the measures were not always peaceful. With the rise in the situational peace, the pre-emptive strategies had also been noticed to be adapted. This gives an indication of the Bush senior and Clinton administrations to be objectively affecting the Foreign Policy of America but were more pragmatic towards the oscillating relations of US and North Korea and the initiated nuclear crisis in the Northeast Asia.
The reason for North Korea to attain such technology for its survival is generally classified under the realist grounds to attain self-help and security. It had seen Republic of South Korea bring nurtured and funded by America. So, to secure its existence against the two enemies, it went against the norms and developed nuclear technology over the years. The series of aggression and mistrust came up with the abrupt ending of the Korean War that showed North Korea the proxy presence of America in the region and the prevailing ideological difference it catered against them.
North Korea intends to maximize its security, as realism explains better. It brought up its security concerns at a time when the US was already fighting against the rebels of the international system. Hence it was not perceived more than another revolt from the East. The US did initiate economic assistance schemes for North Korea to let go of the nuclear militarization but prioritizing the regime was expecting to be honored with which was not fulfilled. Basically, the US did not expect the North Korean nuclear issue to escalate with such determination, and was kept with low response, having different means of diplomacy to deal with it.
The United States had always followed the strategy to maximize its power but now after the North Korean threats to attack the mainland USA, it has become a security maximizer that needs to counter the threat posed by North Korea. South Korea had always felt insecure because of North Korea’s military threat being just a border away, after the Korean War. Since then, it feels the need to follow up in conventional power to cope up in case of Total War. With South Korean efforts to update its strategies for war and maximize security, North Korea has always been a step ahead when it came to asymmetric capabilities for war. It had to go through the revision of US-South Korea guidelines which already limits producing the long-range missiles.
If denuclearization is defined as no state ownership of nuclear weapons and the proxy power may have installations as their own, then North Korea may agree overnight to denuclearize itself. Now that South Korea is denuclearized but continues to have the US involvement will be neutralized when North Korea comes under the shelter of either China or Russia for balancing and equalizing the nuclear existence. North Korea claims to have complete elimination of US arms from the region, which means that the USFK is no longer accepted in the Korean land. The demand is to have diplomatic relations and peace treaties with United States. They are ready to denuclearize when their demands are accepted. But when rationally analyzing the threat posed to North Korea, the complete elimination of nuclear power seems impossible as the threat from outside forces shall always hover over the Korean Peninsula.