chapter  4
13 Pages

US policy interests and the concept of North Korean neutrality

Discussions in the United States regarding the concept of neutrality for North

Korea – and for the Korean Peninsula more generally – have taken place in a

variety of contexts since 1945. Not surprisingly, the most active periods for

considering such proposals were in the late 1940s, during talks on terms for the

withdrawal of US and Soviet occupation forces from the peninsula, and,

subsequently, in 1953, during the course of the final negotiations on terms of an

armistice to end the Korean War. In recent years, there has been very little

discussion of this option as a means of moving towards peace on the Korean

Peninsula. At the same time, however, certain factors in the contextual scene in

the region may now make the idea more appealing than it once was to the United

States. These changes provide the context for the following analysis, which will

focus on the single option of a possible North Korean declaration of neutrality

and its likely reception by the United States (across several stages of