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PacNet #26 – Russia and the North Korean Knot

Reacting to the publication of the US Nuclear Posture Review, Pyongyang in mid-April 2010 officially confirmed its own position on nuclear weapons: “As long as the US nuclear threat persists, the DPRK will increase and update various type nuclear weapons as its deterrent in such a manner as it deems necessary in the days ahead.” Along with others, Russia has to seriously question the viability of the two decades-old efforts for denuclearization of the neighboring country, with special accent on the relevance to the existing diplomatic framework. What is the purpose of the Six-Party Talks and what are Russian goals in this exercise? The need to determine real options on the Korean Peninsula is obvious. Russian strategy, coordinated through the Six-Party Talks, of making early denuclearization of North Korea a priority goal should be analyzed from the point of view of broader Russian interests vis-à-vis both the Korean Peninsula and global interaction with major partners, like the US, China, Japan, and the ROK.