ABSTRACT

The period following the release of the September 2005 Joint Statement witnessed a historical change in North-East Asian politics in general and North Korea’s bargaining with the USA in particular. This was due to the fact that between October 2005 and October 2006 Pyongyang’s foreign policy evolved from alignment with other powers in the region and participation in an international regime to isolation and an open and provocative display of its nuclear capability. The run-up to North Korea’s October 2006 nuclear test was marked by growing tensions between North Korea and its neighbours and in bilateral relations between the Kim Jong Il government and the George W. Bush administration. These two sets of tension were in marked contrast to the improvement in relations that had characterized the April 2003–September 2005 period.