African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382


North Korea’s nuclear program and the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons: The controversy and its implications

Assefa Le-ake Gebru
  • Assefa Le-ake Gebru
  • Mekelle University, Department of Political Science and Strategic Studies, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 20 April 2015
  •  Accepted: 06 August 2015
  •  Published: 30 September 2015


This study critically examines the trend in non-compliance of the NPT, its lack of effectiveness in deterrence and consistent behavior both among compliance and noncompliance states to identify what constitutes construes, and at times justifies the trend. That is, based on the established NPT norms, the study inquired to indicate what the decade’s long diplomatic, military and media ramble constitutes in the reconstitution of global normative framework. The study shows both theoretically and empirically indefensible irrationality at the heart of the NPT-North Korea nuclear issue neither the selfish pursuit of national interest nor the avowal for global peace and security gives credence to. This holds more true to the NPT leading protagonist USA than the nuclear pariah state of North Korea. The central theme is based on by four major confounded propositions; these are the anachronistic nature of the NPT and IAEA, the irrationality of rational choice based behavior of actors, the growing potency of regional actors pragmatic strategies and North Korea’s success to maneuver and, not least, outmaneuver of the effort of the regime and powerful member states resorting to eclectic strategies. Consequently, the NPT regime and the appeal for compliance have lost the moral power of commanding member states indicating grave epicenter that might be considered beyond the North Korean episode. Thus, the study corroborates with Nina Tannenwald’s call for, the need to reconstitute the decadent normative regime of NPT, creating (making) nuclear taboo in essence; but, it departs from Tannenwald’s circular argument recommending the problem as solution. It instead strongly argues that the North Korean example constitutes is that the normative framework of NPT’s rightness, the power and rationality of rational choices and deterrence significantly perverted indicating the imperative for normative reconstitution of Cold War norms and replacement by new framework approximating current global reality and envisaging the horizon of future dynamics. Therefore, calls for rethinking beyond theoretical purviews materialist, rationalist and consequential conception pertaining to the nuclear issue. Methodologically, it is a meta-theory study employing interpretive design; source of data is exclusively based on desktop review of secondary data sources academic literature, statute, policy and regulatory documents of the NPT, IAEA, UNSC and member states, media and electronic dispatches as well as news outlets. 


Key words: UNSC, NPT, IAEA, North Korea and USA.