United States’ Track II Diplomacy During the Second North Korean Nuclear Crisis (2002-2008)

Kim, Priscilla Jung (2019) United States’ Track II Diplomacy During the Second North Korean Nuclear Crisis (2002-2008). Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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In the realm of academia and US government, scholars and policymakers argue that diplomacy is no longer a viable option towards dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. I, however, argue that it is too early to declare diplomacy as a failed solution, due to the lack of research on Track II diplomacy between the US and North Korea. While there is a large amount of literature on US foreign policy towards North Korea, there is little literature that seeks to explain United States Track II diplomacy towards North Korea. My research, therefore, makes an original contribution to the study of US foreign policy towards North Korea. My dissertation questions why influential United States non-governmental organizations (NGOs) initiated and pursued Track II diplomacy with the North Korean government during the United States administrations of George W. Bush (2001-2009). It argues that non-governmental organizations pursued Track II diplomacy because they believed that Track II diplomacy could compensate for the shortcomings of US Track I, or official, diplomacy that took place between the Bush administration and North Korean government. To demonstrate my argument, I examine three cases of US Track II diplomacy to North Korea: Track II diplomatic conferences of the National Committee of American Foreign Policy; the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s visit to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea; and US science diplomatic activities to North Korea, which include the Stanford delegation’s visit to the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center and the Nautilus Institute’s DPRK Energy Experts’ Working Group. The analysis demonstrates that each case of US Track II diplomacy partially compensated for the US delegation to the Six Party Talks’ inability to fulfil a normal function of diplomacy. This study concludes that the Bush administration limited its practice of official diplomacy concerning the North Korean nuclear issue, hence the vacancy for Track II diplomacy.

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