America`s Policy on North Korea

America’sPolicy on North Korea

America’sPolicy on North Korea

NorthKorea and the United States are members of the Non-ProliferationTreaty. Recently, North Korea has become a center of attention afterits declaration that it has been developing nuclear weapons since theyear 2002. When Obama assumed office in 2009, North Korea performedan unannounced nuclear and ballistic missile testing regardless ofthe disapproval members of the treaty (Snyder, 2013). In 2016, thecountry launched its fourth nuclear and ballistic missile trial andannounced that they had successfully conducted a hydrogen bombexperiment. North Korea’s nuclear activities violated theinternational obligations and commitments to the disarmament of thetechnology, which is a significant threat to the U.S. NationalSecurity and the rest of the world (Snyder, 2013).

Thecurrent Obama’s administration policy on North Korea is based onstrategic patience, in close consultations with its six-party allies(Cha, 2009). However, many people have criticized the policy as a“complete failure” due to its inability to stop North Korea’snuclear weapon program. Donald Trump, the vocal American presidentialcandidate, has an alternative policy on North Korea. Trump arguesthat China is best placed to address the issue (Campbell, 2016). TheUnited States, should, therefore, introduce sanctions on China toforce them to execute the task.

TheCurrent Policy

Accordingto Campbell (2016), the overall objective of the United States ofAmerica’s foreign policy for North Korea has been to restrict thecountry from possessing nuclear weapons. President Bush`sadministration pursued a strategy that deterred the nation’s efforts towards manufacturing the dreaded weapons. The governmentadopted the proposal after the terrorist attack on the World TradeCenter and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 (Campbell, 2016).

WhenPresident Obama took control of the government, there were manyexpectations that he would offer a solution to the two-decadestandoff between the United States and North Korea. In his inauguralspeech, the president outlined that his government would extend ahand to those willing to open their fists (Campbell, 2016). The wordsmarked the beginning of another decade of talks on the best foreignpolicy for Korea. The U.S. has been exercising patience whileinvoking the engagement of the other four members of the NPT. Between2011 and 2012, Obama and North Korean leader held three talks toenforce the disarmament move. While most critics term Obama’spolicy as timid and divergent to the preclusive strategy PresidentBush conceived, some believe that North Korea is not a threat (Cha,2009).

Accordingto Cha (2009), the goal of the current policy has been to secure theUnited States and avoiding dragging the country into another war. InMay 2009, North Korea responded to the United States’s offer bylaunching nuclear tests (Cha, 2009). The missile weapons the countryowns can result in great destruction if launched. The missilevarieties include, No Dong (with a range of 620 miles), Taepodong,Musudan and Taepodong-2 with ranges of 900, 2200 and 3700 milesrespectively. Obama’s administration did not have an option but tofollow the non-proliferation treaty after declaring the patiencestrategy. The United States has also effected strict economicsanctions on North Korea, which have lacerated the country’seconomy. The USA has also frozen all North Korean properties on itssoil, as well as, blacklisted businesses associated with the state.

TheU.S. claims that the policy has achieved its objective of securingAmerican citizens since there has not been any attempted strike oneither its soil or citizens. On the other hand, the strategy has hurtNorth Korea’s Political base due to its continued provocationthrough testing of nuclear weapons (Cha, 2009). North Korea has lostthe support of its neighbors in the region, making the approachsuccessful (Cha, 2009). Furthermore, the policy has enabled theUnited States to bargain for a constant pressure on North Korea toclose its facilities.

Nevertheless,the directive has partly failed, as it is apparent that North Koreacontinues to develop and test nuclear technology despite being amember of the Non-proliferation Treaty. Therefore, the nationcontinues to break the outlined agreements (Cha, 2009). Divergentviews hold that the six-party-treaty cannot be an effective method ofrestricting the country from developing weapons of mass destruction.The rationale for this ideology emanates from the fact that there hasbeen a series of nuclear tests without the NPT members taking anysignificant corrective actions. Moreover, since 2013, North Korea hastested the nuclear hardware despite holding bilateral talks withPresident Obama. Nothing in the talks seemed to yield any desirableoutcomes. Also, the patience and collaboration policy relies heavilyon the resolution of the United Nations Security Council thatcontinues to issue a stern warning to the Korean leader. Nonetheless,the body’s firm stance does not seem to deter the North Koreanauthority.


Trumps’alternative policy for North Korea is rather radical. Apart from theantagonistic relationship that the United States has with the Koreangovernment, Trump attacks the government and its leaders with phrasesfrom which one can draw bitterness and contempt. Although it is notpossible to dissociate the character of leaders from the institutionsthat they lead, Trump believes that the Korean premier is to blameentirely for the country`s underground nuclear programs (Campbell,2016). He also contends that China has been a benefactor of NorthKorea’s economic programs for several decades therefore, the NPTmembers should develop a policy requiring China to convince its allyto halt the development of the technology. The policy, as identifiedby Trump, would be more efficient than the current ideology.According to him, China has continued to exploit the United Stateswhile running away from its responsibility. Its proximity and foreignrelationship with North Korea places it in a better position to dealwith the problem. In case China refuses to cooperate, Trumprecommends forcing it by initiating strategic economic sanctions.

Accordingto Nanto and Manyin, (2011), with the economic, military, and foreigndominance of China over Korea, it can exert control over Korea andcompel it to cease its program. The introduction of the third party,according to Trump, would lift the burden of directly engaging theUnited States in a confrontation with North Korea (Trump, 2016). Thevibrant presidential candidate augurs that the United States shouldmake trade difficult for China until it manifests the willingness totopple North Korea’s diversionary programs (Trump, 2016).

Thealternative policy is beneficial to the world’s superpower. First,using China will prevent the USA from directly engaging in anotherwar. The last thing many Americans would want is their governmentdeclaring war and siphoning their taxes to finance attacks. TheAmerican Forces in North Korea would also not be involved in theordeal, unless in exceptional circumstances when it is necessary tosupport China when it is under attack. Trump (2016) believes thatsanctioning China would force them to exercise their deserted task ofexerting economic influence over North Korea. Secondly, China’sintervention would protect the American citizens from possiblethreats by North Korea. Furthermore, the plan is consistent with theUnited States’ overall objective of restricting other countriesfrom the nuclear competition.

However,the approach will possibly result in an adverse foreign relationshipwith China. It will also be injurious to the trade and financialassociation that the two countries have now (Campbell, 2016). Everyyear, the two nations exchange millions of dollars in exports andimports. The effect of unfavorable trade conditions would trickledown to the local entrepreneurs. Besides, the United States imagewill be tainted on the face of Chinese allies and trade partners.Most of the countries believe that America has the muscle fordirectly engaging North Korea (Campbell, 2016). Consequently,analysts would view the policy as a diversionary tactic and ascapegoat to strain Chinese efforts in the country.

Tocounter the possibility of a reproach, the United States cancollaborate with China and execute the duty jointly. The move wouldsave the USA’s image, and strengthen its relationship with China(Campbell, 2016). If the hypothetical proposal does not work, theU.S. should exploit its military prowess to carry out preclusiveattacks on the nuclear facilities.


Inconclusion, the United States current policy on North Korea is basedon using the influence of the six-party member treaty to controlnuclear processing. Trump offers an alternative policy of forcingChina to introduce sanctions for North Korea. To achieve theobjectives, the United States has to establish trade biases forChina. However, the two policies are tainted with shortcomings thatmay affect the United States in the end. The citizens look forward toan administration that will develop a productive policy to addressthe thorny issue.


Campbell,C. (2016, Jan 6). Donald Trump: Here`s how I`d handle that `madman`in North Korea. TheBusiness Insider.Retrieved from

Cha,V. D. (2009). What do they really want? Obama`s North Koreaconundrum. TheWashington Quarterly,32(4),119-138.

Nanto,D. K., &amp Manyin, M. E. (2011). China-North Korea relations.Russia,China and Eurasia,27(3),407.

Snyder,S. (2013). US policy towards North Korea. SERIQuarterly,6(1),99.

Trump,D. (2016, April 27). Transcript: Donald Trump’s foreign policyspeech. TheNew York Times.Retrieved from