Staying the course: Denuclearization and path dependence in the US's North Korea policy

Kimberly Peh, Soul Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose—The purpose of the article is to analyze the U.S.’s foreign policy framework toward North Korea in the post–Cold War era. Design, Methodology, Approach—We employ process-tracing technique and comparative sequential method across successive administrations and find that the U.S.’s foreign policy toward North Korea is one of a self-amplifying process. Findings—We argue that the U.S.’s foreign policy toward North Korea has remained remarkably consistent over the course of three decades. Furthermore, the policy has both hardened and narrowed in its focus on denuclearization. Practical Implications—As the U.S. deepens its pursuit for denuclearization as an end, the misalignment of goals between Washington and Pyongyang persists and even grows. Originality, Value—Through our analysis, we contribute to existing work that identifies North Korea’s liability for the engagement failures and add texture to the understanding of the current deadlock in negotiations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-78
Number of pages22
JournalNorth Korean Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021

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