Li Bin: North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities and Their Security Impacts

Author:Li Bin Date:2017-11-24

On Nov. 20, 2017, the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University (IISS, PKU) held the 19th “North Pavilion Seminar” series, inviting Li Bin, Professor at the Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University and a Senior Fellow at Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, to give a keynote lecture on the topic “North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities and their Security Impact”. This seminar was presided over by Associate Prof. Yu Tiejun, Vice President of IISS, and Assistant Prof. Gui Yongtao, Assistant President of IISS.

Li Bin firstly introduced the values and methodology behind the research of North Korea’s nuclear issue. In terms of the former, the debate over the North Korea’s nuclear issue is largely driven by different values. Methodologically, there are two theories with different attributes — positive theory and normative theory. If researchers cannot distinguish one theory from the other when analyzing North Korea’s nuclear issue, they will easily confuse them and reach wrong judgments.

Li Bin then pointed out the position of North Korea’s nuclear issue in the world pattern during the Cold War and in the post-Cold War era. By sorting out the evolution of North Korea’s nuclear issue, Li Bin, from the technical point of view, introduced North Korea’s strength in nuclear material, nuclear devices, and nuclear tests it has carried out since it started to develop nuclear missile power.

Li Bin also summarized the direct and indirect impacts of North Korea’s nuclear issue on China and emphasized the importance of the U.S. foreign policy in it. As China is largely threatened by North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and the U.S. by North Korea’s missile capabilities, China opposes North Korea’s nuclear development, and the U.S. opposes North Korea’s missile development . Therefore, the two countries need each other’s assistance. Finally, Li Bin suggested that China should attach more importance to the building of professional teams and personnel, stand up for denuclearization of North Korea and strengthen its communication with the U.S.

In the question-and-answer session, Li Bin discussed and exchanged views with students and teachers present at the seminar on the issues such as North Korea’s nuclear technology, nuclear tests, and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. (Contributed by Huang Xiaoting) 

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