This article considers North Korea and the notion of crisis, by linking historical development over the Korean peninsula to the conflict resolution literature, and investigates why despite a large number of destabilising events, a war involving Pyongyang has yet to erupt. The paper considers historical data and uses a framework developed by Aggarwal et al. in order to highlight patterns of interaction between states such as the United States, North Korea and South Korea, organisations such as the United Nations, as well as processes such as the Six-Party Talk and the Agreed Framework. The paper then develops a crisis framework based on conflict resolution and negotiation literature, and applies it to three North Korean administrations. Findings suggests that an elastic understanding of time (for all parties involved on the peninsula) leads to an impossibility to reach a threshold where full-scale war would be triggered, thus leaving parties in a stable state of crisis for which escalating moves and de-escalating techniques might become irrelevant.
This Working paper for the Korea Security Conference, International Institute of
Korean Studies (IKSU), University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), 15-17