An expanding arsenal: unraveling north Korea's nuclear proliferation behavior

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In 1997, Scott Sagan introduced a theoretical framework consisting of three models that try to explain states' nuclear proliferation behavior. This framework contains a Security Model, a Domestic Politics Model and a Norms Model. Each model contains different independent variables that are believed to be of influence on nuclear proliferation behavior. In general, Scholars have applied Sagan's models in order to explain why states initially acquire a nuclear arsenal or why they have chosen to denuclearize, therefore often limiting themselves to a single moment of analysis. The research in this thesis however, aims to explain the development of a state's nuclear proliferation behavior over a longer period of time. Over the last three decades, North Korea has generally been expanding its nuclear arsenal. However, there have also been periods during which the regime paused its nuclear proliferation activities. This thesis has tried to explain why North Korea's nuclear proliferation behavior has developed itself in this way over the last three decades by studying the North Korean case longitudinally. By employing this approach, it has become clear that variables stemming from different models in Sagan's framework are capable of interacting with one another. In addition, the full explanation of North Korea's nuclear proliferation behavior show that the models are complementary to each other.
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