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15 June 2020

Escalation the result of North Korea's 'desire to strike a deal'

Increasing tensions on the Korean peninsula likely stem from Kim Jong-un’s desire to force a deal that would lead to the lifting of crippling international sanctions, according to a King’s College London academic.

North Korea needs a deal with the US in order to lift sanctions
North Korea needs a deal with the US in order to lift sanctions

Since the beginning of the month, the North Korean leadership has taken aim at US president Donald Trump while also cutting ties with South Korea, a move which has seen several official lines of communication between the two nations shut down.

However, Dr Ramon Pacheco Pardo, from the Department of European and International Studies at King’s, believes the recent increase in activity from the North is probably the result of efforts to force the US back to the negotiating table.

Dr Pacheco Pardo said: “In recent days and weeks, North Korea has been increasing tensions with South Korea and the United States. This includes threats to cut inter-Korean links and to bolster its nuclear deterrent against a possible US strike.

“However, Kim Jong-un needs a workable agreement with the United States to get UN sanctions relief, and this way boost trade and investment. Thus, we can expect Pyongyang and Washington to eventually resume negotiations.”

Dr Pacheco Pardo has been sharing his thoughts on the situation with global media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, Voice of America and BBC Newshour (starting at 26.30).

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Ramon Pacheco Pardo

Head of the Department of European & International Studies and Professor of International Relations