North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Past Failures, Present Solutions

1 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2013 Last revised: 27 Jun 2013

See all articles by Morse Tan

Morse Tan

Northern Illinois University


North Korea has recently announced that it has developed nuclear weapons and has pulled out of the six-party talks. These events do not emerge out of a vacuum, and this Article lends perspective through an interdisciplinary lens that seeks to grapple with the complexities and provide constructive approaches based on this well-researched understanding. This Article analyzes political, military, historical, legal and other angles of this international crisis.

Past dealings with North Korea have been unfruitful because other nations do not recognize the ties between North Korean acts and its ideology and objectives. For a satisfactory resolution to the current crisis, South Korea and the United States must maintain sufficient deterrence, focus on multi-lateral and international avenues, and increase the negative and later positive incentives for North Korean compliance with its international obligations.

From an international legal and international organizations perspective, the multilateral talks can be bolstered by inclusion of the U.N. Secretary General as a proactive mediator. The Secretary General can call for, if necessary and after the failure of other means, U.N. Security Council action and the reinstitution of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to do its duly constituted work of preventing proliferation. If these approaches succeed, the peninsula, region, and world will become better places.

Keywords: International law, nuclear proliferation, treaties, North Korea, national security

JEL Classification: H56, K14, K33, K40, K41, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Tan, Morse, North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Past Failures, Present Solutions. Morse Tan, North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Past Failures, Present Solutions, 50 St. Louis U. L.J. 517 (2006) Reprinted with permission of the Saint Louis University Law Journal © 2006 St. Louis University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri, U of St. Thomas (Minnesota) Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-16, Available at SSRN:

Morse Tan (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois University ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States

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