Sweden's Engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Magnus Andersson, Jinsun Bae

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    Purpose: -This article examines Sweden’s engagement with the DPRK as a unique case to understand motivations for engaging in a so-called fragile state.
    Design/methodology/approach: -The authors apply the constructivist international relations (IR) approach and opt for the case study method based on semistructured interviews of individuals who have taken part in Swedish engagement programs.
    Findings: - Besides having its embassy in Pyongyang and serving as a protecting power for the U.S., Sweden has provided capacity building programs for North Korean government officials and scholars and has taken part in low-profile human rights advocacy. In short, Sweden is best viewed as a facilitator between DPRK and the outside world. Its motivations are mixed and multiple, including rationalist pursuit
    of gains and the logic of appropriateness.
    Practical implications: - Useful for policymakers interested in engagement DPRK and other countries with little interaction with the outside world.
    Originality/value: - This case expands our understanding of engagement that is often understood to a great degree as a rationalist affair between the engaging and target states. It also affirms the usefulness of constructivist IR approach in accounting for today’s engagement practices involving more stakeholders and less obvious costbenefit calculation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalNorth Korean Review
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)42–62
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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