North Korea’s security perspectives

Authored by: Hazel Smith

East and South-East Asia

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436396
eBook ISBN: 9780203146026
Adobe ISBN:


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The primary goal of security, foreign and defence policies of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, more commonly known as North Korea, is regime survival (Smith 2005, 2007, n.d.). The major change to North Korean strategy in the 21st century was the formalization of the primary instrument of foreign policy as nuclear deterrence. North Korea’s policy makers consider that they have been successful in achieving their primary goal as the military intervention from abroad that they feared has not materialized. Security planners attribute success to the credibility of their nuclear weapons programme. Nevertheless, North Korean leaders also understand that pursuing the nuclear option has not achieved regime security, that its alliances are uncertain and its security outlook precarious.

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