Explaining the pattern of the DPRK’s foreign policy toward major states
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation starts with the question of what factors influence whether North Korea chooses to implement risky or cooperative policies toward major states, as well as what role domestic politics and ideology play in the DPRK’s formation and enactment of foreign policy. This study also seeks to explain why North Korea chooses a hard line foreign policy and when it chooses to engage with surrounding states. To find answers to these questions, the domestic priorities behind foreign policies are analyzed within the framework of human needs development theory. In this theory, North Korean foreign policy goals are motivated by three domestic priorities or preferences: security, identity and prosperity. This study set up three hypotheses based on this theoretical framework. The hypotheses assumed that the DPRK’s foreign policy is determined primarily by the demands of “national security” relative to the U.S.; North Korea’s foreign policy toward South Korea is determined by the “identity need”; Pyongyang’s foreign policy toward China is mostly based on a desire for “economic prosperity.” In order to test these hypotheses, this study employs the “process-tracing” method, and also observes the official newspaper of Pyongyang regime, through content analysis in order to determine the DPRK’s perception and policy preference toward major states such as the United States, South Korea and China. From the theoretical standpoint, this study proposes that North Korea is not abnormal or atypical, that is, the foreign policy goals of North Korea are not drastically different from any other country. First of all, one must understand that the essential ideologies of Juche and Songun and historical experiences have formed the preferences of Pyongyang’s leadership. It is clear that the DPRK’s domestic priorities have great influence on its foreign policy toward major governments, more so than external pressures and direct diplomatic interactions. This study implies that, within it’s the context of its own history and perceptions, Pyongyang has acted rationally in regard to its goals and strategic interest.