Peace Science Digest

Toward North Korean Security without Nuclear Weapons

Photo credit: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons


The highly anticipated summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea in June of 2018, whether it happens or not is uncertain, places the issue of North Korean denuclearization as a core issue to be addressed. It seems that the U.S. administration is working on simplistic assumptions about the process of North Korean nuclear disarmament. Stanford Professor Sigfried Hecker, an authority on this issue, that such as process will take up to 15 years. Moreover, he emphasizes that the countries need to establish a relationship where nuclear weapons are not considered guarantors of security.

In the News:

“The key to dismantling the sprawling atomic complex… Dr. Hecker added, ‘is to establish a different relationship with North Korea where its security rests on something other than nuclear weapons.’

Insight from Peace Science:

The U.S.’s overwhelming military capabilities and the presence of U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula are primary motivators for North Korea’s nuclear program.

Talks with North Korea should include long-term visions of U.S. troop withdrawals. As we know from anthropologist David Vine, military abroad undermine national security and cause global harm. By including power and position in the narratives of diplomacy, constructive shifts in the U.S./North Korea relationship can move the entire situation away from merely “lousy” options to little diplomatic wins on all sides.