1st Edition

Engaging North Korea

Edited By Lam Peng Er Copyright 2025
    304 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a comprehensive overview of international attempts to engage North Korea diplomatically with the aim of avoiding a nuclear war.

    It highlights the difficulty of this task, concluding that the containment of North Korea currently depends more on military deterrence than on diplomatic restraint. It considers the various multilateral attempts at diplomatic engagement over recent decades and explores the different approaches of different countries, examining the domestic factors and the strategic interests which drive different countries’ different approaches. It includes an account of China’s growing estrangement, Russia’s increasing closeness and the surprising relationship between North Korea and Sweden which has been effective in providing the North Korean people with humanitarian aid.

    Revealing the story of diplomatic frustrations and failures when engaging North Korea this book will appeal to students and scholars of Korean studies, Asian politics and international relations.

    Part 1: Introduction

    1.   Engaging North Korea: A Task for Sisyphus?

    Lam Peng Er

    Part 2: Superpowers and the DPRK

    2.   The United States’ Diplomacy towards a Nuclearizing DPRK: Agreed Framework, Six-Party Talks and Summits

    Jihwan HWANG

    3.   A Basic Framework for Understanding China-North Korea Relations

    Jaewoo CHOO

    Part 3: Regional Great Powers and the DPRK

    4. Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the 21st Century

    Vitaly KOZYREV

    5. Japan and North Korea: Reminders of Forgotten Realities

    Haruko SATOH

    Part 4: Korean Middle Powers 

    6. Containment versus Engagement: South Korea’s Polarized Politics and Different Approaches to the North Korean Conundrum

    Hahnkyu PARK

    7. North Korea’s Relentless Nuclear Path: Advances in Nuclear Capability and Doctrine

    Sung Chull KIM

    Part 5: ASEAN Middle Powers 

    8. Singapore-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Relations: Diplomacy and Humanitarian Assistance

    Gordon KANG

    9. The Vietnam-DPRK Experience: Sharing and Engagement for Peace and Prosperity

    NGUYEN Thi Tham and HA Anh Tuan

    Part 6: Discreet Roles of the European Union, Sweden and Ireland

    10. Sweden’s Enduring Relations with North Korea: Establishing Trust for Peace


    11. The European Union’s Humanitarian Assistance Program in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

    Saroj DASH


    Lam Peng Er is the Head of the Korea Centre and Principal Research Fellow of the East Asian Institute (EAI) at the National University of Singapore.