North Korea’s provocative foreign policy is the result of its security dilemma. While the first nuclear crisis in 1993 was the result of North Korea’s security dilemma instigated by the post-cold war international environment, the current crisis involves two sets of conflicting security dilemmas (North Korean and U.S.). After delineating North Korea’s foreign-policy behavior in terms of an offense-defense theory, we put North Korea’s verbal statements and actual policy behavior into two graphs to describe how the international environment prompted Pyongyang’s security dilemma that in turn generated its provocative behavior. We interpret North Korea’s coercive foreign-policy behavior as a design to project a desired image of a rogue state that is prepared to engage in a high level of risk-taking if Washington and Seoul impose sanctions or refuse concessions. The study finds variations between North Korea’s verbal statements and its actual policy behavior, signifying that Pyongyang’s militant commentaries are not accompanied by actual provocation. In some cases, it even seems that such announcements signal a willingness to negotiate.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 73-97
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.