The End of the Six-Party Talks?
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY CONFLICT
Pagination or Media Count:
No matter how one spins it, North Koreas nuclear test of October 9, 2006 represents a major defeat for U.S. foreign policy.1 Pyongyang torpedoed the stalemated six-party talks on its nuclear proliferation and also called what it sees as Washingtons bluff, i.e. that America can put enough pressure on North Korea by imposing sanctions on the DPRKs foreign banking after the six parties preliminary agreement in September, 2005 and by placing human rights on the negotiating agenda that it will collapse, circumventing the need for detailed engagement with Pyongyang over proliferation. Indeed, if anything, the test shows Pyongyangs continuing self-confidence about the future. A careful analysis of propaganda, policy, and planning leads to a high degree of skepticism about the possibility that North Korea is focused on mere survival simply maintaining a self-defense capability, engineering a modest economic recovery, and coexisting peacefully with South Korea. Pyongyang appears to have far more ambitious intentions, and nothing indicates absolute desperation on the part of North Korean leaders.... The indications are that Pyongyang envisions a bright future-it is considering significant economic changes and examining foreign systems as models. Furthermore, this test virtually ensures that imposed regime change is now off the table as far as the other members of the six-party talks are concerned. First the DPRKs proliferation, like all other preceding ones, is a declaration of independence that it alone will control its destiny. In this case the DPRK has declared its independence not only of the United States or the Nonproliferation Treaty regime, but also of China and to a lesser degree Russia. It will now be much more difficult for any foreign states to influence its foreign and defense policies.
- Government and Political Science