DPRK as a Structural Factor of Regional and Global Security

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Center for Korean Studies
Affiliation: Institute of China and Modern Asia, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: 32, Nakhimovsky pr., Moscow, 117977
Occupation: Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Affiliation: Russia in Global Affairs
Address: 17, M. Ordynka Street, Moscow, office 406
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 4

The article analyzes the current internal and external situation of the DPRK as an intermediate outcome of a unique 75-year socio-economic experiment. The DPRK's nuclear missile program, which has become a means of ensuring security, an instrument of diplomatic bargaining, and an element of its specific international status, sometimes defined as a "small great power," has made the country the target of unprecedentedly harsh sanctions, both from individual countries and from the international community represented by the UN Security Council. The sanctions, that have seriously crippled the national economy, as well as aggravated its humanitarian situation and international isolation, nevertheless failed to yield the DPRK’s denuclearization. Under these conditions, the country's leadership focuses on preservation of political stability, even at the expense of improving the welfare of the people, which will predetermine the conservation of the specific economic system that combines directive state management and certain principles of market economy, for a long time.


Declaring unconditional commitment to the development of its nuclear missile program, the DPRK poses a dual threat to strategic stability at the regional and global levels. At the regional level, by undermining the principles of nuclear nonproliferation, the DPRK's RNP can stimulate the threshold states of the region to develop their nuclear programs. The active promotion of multilateral military-political alliances in the Asia-Pacific region under U.S. patronage makes the prospect of Pyongyang entering strategic arms control negotiations unlikely. At the global level, Pyongyang's successful opposition to the sanctions regime in the context of growing systemic and structural international contradictions may lead to the degradation of this regime and, as a consequence, to the dangerous dysfunction of the UN as a key international institution.

KeywordsDPRK, nuclear weapons, "small great power", sanctions, denuclearization, regime theory, economic autarky, "grassroots capitalism", quasi-market economy
Publication date01.09.2023
Number of characters35526
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