Why Stay Engaged with a State Deemed Fragile? The Case of Sweden toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Magnus Andersson, Jinsun Bae

    Research output: Working paperResearch


    Based on the constructivist international relations (IR) approach, the authors study Sweden’s engagement with the DPRK as a unique case to understand motivations for engaging in a so-called fragile state. 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. It has also made a consistent commitment to aid and human rights advocacy. In a nutshell, Sweden has been a facilitator between the DPRK and the outside world. Its motivations are mixed and multiple, including the expectation of gains, the convenience of repeating the work and the logic of appropriateness.
    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 strict cost-benefit calculation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLund
    PublisherLund University
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Print)9789198090000
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    SeriesWorking Papers in Contemporary Asian Studies


    • Sweden
    • DPRK
    • Engagement
    • Foreign policy
    • Constructivism
    • Fragile state
    • Capacity building
    • Human rights
    • Pyongyang embassy
    • Protecting power

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