Kim jong-un’s change of stance: North Korea’s rapprochement for peace in 2018

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Article Type: research Paper Purpose—Starting in early 2018, Kim Jong-Un changed his attitude toward other countries by opening dialogues and negotiations, particularly with the U.S. and South Korea. It was unprecedented since he had been known to pursue a policy of isolation and was notoriously ruthless. hence, this paper aims to seek why he changed his foreign policy course in 2018 by offering an olive branch to South Korea and the U.S. Design/Methodology/Approach—This paper approaches this issue by tracing the historical cycle of the DPrK’s foreign policy behavior, linking the nuclear crisis, the DPrK’s plea for negotiation, and economic assistance/sanction relief. Findings—This paper concludes that the change in Kim’s foreign policy approach echoes the historical patterns and precedents which have been displayed by his predecessors. North Korea has displayed consistencies in actions, reactions, and interactions in employing their nuclear strategy to build relationships with foreign leaders to seek economic assistance, as well as to domestically secure their hereditary regime. Practical Implications—The DPrK, for many Ir students and scholars, is rather inexplicable and peculiar. Its hereditary system has persisted for decades, despite seeming economically fragile. Kim Jong-Un has been known to be merciless in ruling the country and initially refused to negotiate or talk with other countries about the nuclear issue; however, after a series of rapprochements, he seems to be more approachable and to behave more like a “statesman.” Therefore, this paper is expected to provide more insights and understanding about the DPrK, its “nuclear diplomacy,” foreign policy approach, and Kim Jong-Un himself by tracing the historical pattern of his predecessors as well as their policies. Originality/Value—This study aims to identify the change in behavior of the DPrK’s Supreme Leader. It is expected to enrich the existing literature on the DPrK and Kim Jong-Un.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-37
Number of pages15
JournalNorth Korean Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • DPrK
  • Kim Jong-Un
  • North Korea
  • Nuclear strategy
  • Rapprochement


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