How to Address Complex Security Challenges : Fostering International Solidarity

Plenary Session1

International Cooperation and Approaches for Complete Denuclearization of North Korea


Since the breakdown of the 2019 U.S-North Korea Summit, North Korea has refused to sit at the negotiating table and has advanced its nuclear and missile capabilities, going against the regional and global demand for stability. Especially, it has recently shown a tendency to gain the upper hand with respect to the nuclear program by exploiting the opportunity presented by the current security order of instability shaped by Russia-Ukraine war. The problem is that the international cooperation for the denuclearization of North Korea appears difficult. For example, China and Russia continue to veto additional UNSC sanctions against North Korea despite a growing number of ballistic missile launches and increasing nuclear testing threat. Meanwhile, North Korea has posed another threat that implies the first use of nuclear weapons if politically and/or militarily deemed necessary.

As North Korea's nuclear problem becomes more complex and its threats more advanced, the government of the Republic of Korea has adopted a "principled North Korea policy" as part of its effort to usher in sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula through North Korea's complete, verifiable denuclearization. To this end, the ROK government has made clear its "rule of mutual reciprocity" in the denuclearization negotiations, proposing the "predictable denuclearization roadmap" based on the robust ROK-U.S. cooperation. Also, it has stressed the importance of strengthening international cooperation to implement a "stringent and efficient sanctions regime against North Korea," and has asked China and Russia to take more constructive roles.

President Yoon's new approach to North Korea policy, in conjunction with the agreement to enhance ROK-US alliance into a "global comprehensive strategic alliance," can provide an opportunity to generate new strategic momentum towards North Korea's denuclearization. On the other hand, the intensifying strategic competition between the U.S. and China could be a limiting factor that may add complexity to international cooperation on North Korean denuclearization. Given the importance of the issue for the Republic of Korea, this session aims to assess both opportunities and challenges in dealing with North Korea.

Moderator & Panel