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Life in the Shadow: An Examination of the Minor Foreign Relations of the DPRK

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Technical Report

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This thesis explores the diplomatic relations of North Korea, officially known as the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea DPRK, with an emphasis on its minor diplomatic relations. Minor, for purposes of this thesis, refers to those states other than the Big Four Plus One i.e., China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States. This thesis covers the evolution of these relations, assesses trends, and predicts the direction in which these relations may be headed. While many refer to North Korea as a hermit kingdom, its diplomatic relations challenge this label. The DPRK has been and remains active diplomatically. The DPRK enjoys close relations with many states that continue to be marked by the rhetoric of a previous era. There is more continuity than change in its minor foreign relations however, signs of new life cannot be ignored. While most of its bilateral-minor relations were established to help bolster its claim as the sole legitimate government of the Korean Peninsula, these relationships have become more important as the DPRK has become increasingly isolated. Furthermore, by keeping these relations warm, they assist Pyongyang in its possible efforts to engage in diplomatic hedging if needed. Over the years, as Pyongyangs relationship with its primary benefactors has waxed and waned, it has engaged in expanded diplomatic efforts. In mid-2013, as China supported efforts for a more universal application of further restrictive sanctions on the DPRK, the beginning of a cooling period in DPRK-PRC relations can be seen. Given this potential waning of relations with its sole primary benefactor, the DPRK can be expected to enter into a new period of more energetic diplomacy.

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  • Government and Political Science

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