A Half-century of US-Korea Policy: Inching Toward US-DPRK Rapprochement

  • David Satterwhite


The July 1994 death of DPRK President Kim Il-Sung signalled the passing of an era in Korean and global politics. As nemesis of the US longer than any other leader — personifying the Stalinist enemy image long after the ideology itself had ceased to be a threat — Kim’s demise might have been welcomed in the West with a sense of relief and closure. Instead, his half-century at the helm ended just months too soon, for crucial elements of an evolving new order surrounding the peninsula were left unsettled, tantalisingly within reach yet likely to be more difficult to achieve in his absence. The ironies of this situation require explanation. How had an ageing dictator, worshipped at home and ridiculed abroad, come to possess the key to Northeast Asian regional security? How had mounting fears of a DPRK nuclear weapons’ capability brought the US a step closer to normalisation of relations with north Korea after decades of hostility? Despite the cold war’s end elsewhere, however, how might myopic habits — between rival Korean regimes, and on the part of the US — doom the peninsula to continued tensions, making a mockery of Korean aspirations for peace and unification?


International Atomic Energy Agency Korean Peninsula Nuclear Weapon World Order Foreign Relation 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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  • David Satterwhite

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