Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 4 (2023): Panoply Journal

Why North Korea will Likely Never Denuclearize

  • Christopher Gettel
16 September 2023


     North Koreas nuclear ambitions have become a complex and dangerous issue for international relations.  The best efforts of the international community have yielded few results as the rogue nations has tested ICBMs, nuclear warheads, and made increasing hostile threats.  Kim Jong Un’s grip on power is maintained by the belief of his constituents that only he is capable of defending them from invasion with the threat of nuclear war and that denuclearization would be viewed as capitulating to a hostile foreign power.  Denuclearizing would also leave North Koreas decrepit conventional military vulnerable to attack.  The situations of Muammar Ghaddafi and Saddam Hussein are examples of what Kim views of nations hostile to the West abandoning their unconventional deterrent.  Therefore, North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize because doing so would present existential domestic and international threats to the Kim regimes grip on power.