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The Roles of China and South Korea in North Korean Economic Change
Published May 25, 2011
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The year 2007 demonstrated more clearly than ever that external economic engagement provides a chance to help convince North Korea to abandon isolation and take specific actions toward denuclearization that could enable it to become a full member of the international community. In February 2007, a major breakthrough in the deadlocked six-nation nuclear talks, reconvening after a 13-month hiatus, accelerated North Korea’s denuclearization process in exchange for economic benefits provided by other member countries based on the action-for-action principle.

In October 2007, a second South-North summit between the two Koreas, held seven years after the first, landmark 2000 summit, demonstrated North Korea’s willingness to engage in hopes of reviving its failing economy. North Korea’s intensified interactions with top-level leaders outside the region, including Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia, as well as New Zealand, Switzerland, and the European Union, also demonstrated the critically important and potentially larger role that can be played by the international community in opening up North Korea through economic engagement.

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