Russian Priorities and Approaches to the Korean Peninsula
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Russian Priorities and Approaches to the Korean Peninsula
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The paper comprehensively examines Russia's foreign policy towards the Korean Peninsula. Its scientific relevance is defined by the unsettled issues on the Korean Peninsula, including the nuclear one, and the peninsula’s geographical proximity to the Russian Far East, the development of which is a priority task for Russia in the 21st century. The aim of the study is to analyze Russian approaches to the Korean settlement. The methodology includes the systemic and geopolitical approaches. Russia is interested in the peaceful situation on the Korean Peninsula, its denuclearization and the development of multilateral economic cooperation there. In principle, Russia would not object to the unification of Korea, provided that the process of unification would occur peacefully in conditions of social stability and it would not cause serious conflicts between the regional powers. However, it is not ready to take any active steps to achieve unification of Korea. The reason is Russia’s unwillingness to exacerbate the existing tensions, irritate friendly China, and, what is especially important in the context of the growing confrontation with the United States, eliminate the DPRK as a potential partner in this confrontation. Russia prioritizes the six-party talks format for a comprehensive settlement of the Korean crisis in the context of reformatting the security architecture in Northeast Asia. It is unlikely that the Russian proposals will be implemented in the medium and long term since, firstly, the DPRK prefers to discuss its nuclear program directly with the United States. Secondly, the United States is seeking to strengthen the existing security structure in the region, based on bilateral alliances. The current acute confrontation between Russia and the United States as well as between the United States and China makes it practically unrealistic to create a united front to achieve denuclearization of the DPRK. The authors believe that resolving the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula without direct Russian participation would be more profitable for Russia than the status quo with the DPRK continuing to build up its nuclear missile potential and no opportunities for Russia to implement trilateral economic projects on the Korean peninsula.

About authors
Alexander Lukin
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO); National Research University Higher School of Economics; Zhejiang University

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