Carrots and sticks: The construction of an American foreign policy toward North Korea

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The United States' involvement on the Korean peninsula has always oscillated between extremes, especially when dealing with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Washington has used a variety of policies ranging from engagement to threats in order to try to steer North Korea out of a seemingly roguish path. Some argue that American sanctions have been rather ineffective at pressuring Kim Jong-il's dictatorship since both China and South Korea have been helping North Korea financially, thus largely offsetting the sanctions' effects. However, others have stated that in order for an agreement to be reached, Pyongyang would have to receive assurance that its regime would not be toppled. Therefore, a review of American foreign policy actions toward North Korea will provide instruction on how to deal with a nuclear North Korea, especially in light of the 2008 American Presidential election.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-570
Number of pages32
JournalKorea Observer
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

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© 2008 The Institute of Korean Studies


  • Foreign policy, North Korea, Rewards, Sanctions, United States

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