ENDURING TERRITORIAL DISPUTE OVER THE NORTHERN LIMIT LINE(NLL) BETWEEN THE TWO KOREAS IN THE WEST SEA OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Diplomatic and military confrontation, Foreign policy behavior, Territorial Dispute, The Korean Peninsula, The Northern Limit Line, The two Koreas
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This paper seeks to answer the following questions: What are the conditions which either promote relatively peaceful relations or prompt the escalation of hostile diplomatic and military confrontations over the NLL (Northern Limit Line) between the two Koreas? More specifically, what are the conditions which have led North Korea, as a contender state that is dissatisfied with the current status quo of the NLL, to engage in high versus low levels of diplomatic and military confrontation over the NLL in the West Sea of the Korean Peninsula? Even though the two Koreas have been embroiled in an enduring dispute over the NLL for more than half a century, their relations over the NLL have not always been characterized by competitive and hostile interactions. Relations between the two Koreas over the NLL have been characterized by relatively stable and peaceful periods with low levels of diplomatic and military confrontation as well as relatively hostile periods featuring high levels of diplomatic and military confrontation.
This thesis is an effort to understand the dispute over the NLL from a more theoretical and practical perspective. For this purpose, it explores the conditions which make the territorial dispute over the NLL enduring. It also attempts to differentiate between the conditions which trigger North Korea as a contender state to pursue relatively stable and peaceful relations and those that prompt it to pursue territorial claims in an aggressive and confrontational manner. I examine whether North Korea's unfavorable external environment affects its threat perception which in turn motivates North Korea to send signals via challenging foreign policies. Since the end of the Korean War, the United States and South Korea have constituted the main external threats to North Korea. In this context, this thesis explores how the US and South Korean foreign policies toward North Korea have affected the diplomatic and military behavior of North Korea over the NLL during three South Korean administrations: Kim Daejung from 1998-2002, Roh Moohyn from 2003-2007, and Lee Myungbak from 2008-2012.
For this purpose, this study conducts a plausibility probe to test the validity of the proposition that there is a positive correlation between North Korea's threat perception and its use of escalatory or challenging foreign policies against perceived threats. I conclude that the plausibility probe in this study justifies the utility of further systemic research using similar cases. Additionally, given these findings this study argues that North Korea's foreign policy behavior is logical and coherent rather than irrational.
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Yu, Jihoon, "ENDURING TERRITORIAL DISPUTE OVER THE NORTHERN LIMIT LINE(NLL) BETWEEN THE TWO KOREAS IN THE WEST SEA OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA" (2014). Dissertations - ALL. 178.