The Korean Triad: Measuring the Effectiveness of the Inter-Korean Peace Negotiation

Pau Álvarez Aragonès, December 30, 2021.

Social Sciences – International Relations

Abstract: Since the armistice of July 1953, the fire between both Koreas stopped – yet the war has not officially ended, as there has not been any peace treaty to date. However, 2018 marked relevant diplomatic efforts: the first one, between both Koreas, in April 2018 through the Panmunjom Declaration; the second one, between the US and North Korea, in June 2018 through the Singapore Declaration. Also, in 2019, negotiations restarted in Hanoi, Vietnam. This paper handles the following research question: “Have the diplomatic summits in 2018 and 2019 been effective towards the development of an inter-Korean peace agreement?”. In order to answer the question, this paper has tried to measure the effectiveness of the Summits through the degree of compliance with the main points of the Summits using three categories as the main elements for a peace treaty: security provisions, economic cooperation and identity construction. These three categories will be used to compare the scenario pre-2018 to post-2018 through several indicators: the Nuclear Security Index (NTI), the Inter-Korean Integration Index (IPUS), etc. Through the analysis, we find that in terms of content, the Panmunjom Declaration is more detailed, complete and interdisciplinary than the Singapore Declaration. The analysis discloses that diplomatic efforts have not been effective enough, even if the sub-category of sports diplomacy has presented a sustained amelioration in Inter-Korean relations.

Keywords. — Korea, peace treaty, negotiation, diplomacy, effectiveness.

Disclaimer: The views, information and opinions in the written publications are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those shared by the Eutopia Student Think Tank (EUSTT) nor the EUTOPIA Alliance.


Abdi, K., Talebpour, M., Fullerton, J., Ranjkesh, M. J., & Nooghabi, H. J. (2019). Identifying sports diplomacy resources as soft power tools. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 15(3), 147-155


Armstrong, M. C. (2008). Operationalizing public diplomacy. In: Routledge handbook of public diplomacy (pp.  83-91). Routledge.


Badran, R. (2014). Intrastate peace agreements and the durability of peace. Conflict Management and Peace Science31(2), 193-217.


BBC News. (2014, August , 20). Korean reunions: Families divided by war meet in North. BBC News. Retrieved from:


BBC News. (2020, April, 21) North Korea crisis in 300 words. BBC News. Retrieved from:


Berman, E. ; Shapiro, J. ; Felter, J. (2011) Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq.  Journal of Political Economy, 119(4), 766-819


Bleiker, R. (2001). Identity and security in Korea. The Pacific Review, 14(1), pp. 121-148.


Chanlett-Avery, E., & Taylor, M. A. (2010, May). North Korea: US relations, nuclear diplomacy, and internal situation. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Retrieved from:


Council Foreign Relations. CNR (2021, April, 30) Global Conflict Tracker North Korea Crisis. Retrieved from:


Crutchfield, A. G. (2001). Will US Forces be Necessary in a Unified Korea?. ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA.


Dong, W. (2016). The Two Koreas and the United States: Issues of Peace, Security and Economic Cooperation. Routledge: London. 328 p.


Fearon, J.D. (1995) Rationalist Explanations for War.  International Organization. 49(3), 379-414


Foley, J. A. (2020, September 21) Korea’s Divided Families: Time and the Vanishing Hopes of the First Generation in 38 North. Retrieved from:


Fortna, V.P. (2007) Scraps of Paper? Agreements and the Durability of Peace, In Simmons, B. Steinberg, R. (eds.), International Law and International Relations, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge


France24 (2021, April, 6) N. Korea will not go to Olympics: North's sports ministry. France 24. Retrieved from:


Geipel, B. S. (2018). Illusions of Unity: Life Narratives in Eastern German and North Korean Unification Literature. In Transnational Encounters between Germany and Korea (pp. 215-234). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.


Hörner, J.; Morelli, M; Squintani, F. (2015) Mediation and Peace. Review of Economic Studies 82(4), 1483-1501


IPUS (2021) Inter-Korean Integration Index 2020. Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, Seoul National University: Seoul.


Kim, A. S. (2019). An End to the Korean War: The Legal Character of the 2018 Summit Declarations and Implications of an Official Korean Peace Treaty. Asian Journal of International Law, 9(2), 206-216.


Kim, H. N. (2006). South-North Korean relations under the Roh Moo-hyun government. International Journal of Korean Studies, 10(1), 37-59.


Kim, S. S., & Winters, M. S. (2004). Inter-Korean Economic Relations. in Inter-Korean Relations: Problems and Prospects. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. 


Kim, S. C.; Cohen M. (2017) North Korea and nuclear weapons: entering the new era of deterrence. Georgetown University Press: Washington, DC


Koh, B.  (2020, September, 16) (3rd LD) Unification minister calls for N. Korea to implement summit agreements. Yonhap News Agency Retrieved from:


Koh, I. (2012), Korea’s Reunification from the Perspective of Northeast Asia’s Economic Integration.  Journal of Economic Integration, 27(2), 274-279


Korea. Ministry of Unification (2021, April, 23). Five Principles. Retrieved from:


Korea North Air Force Handbook (2010).  Strategic Information and Weapon Systems, Vol. 1, p. 28


Lee, S.W (2014) South Korea’s Search for a New Diplomatic Strategy Toward North Korea: Trustpolitik as a Goldilocks Approach?.  Joint U.S.-Korea Academic Studies, 25, 221-236


Lim, W. (2006). Inter-Korean economic cooperation at a crossroads. Korea Development Institute, December. Retrieved from:


NTI. Nuclear Security Index (2017, April, 24) Understanding North Korea's Missile tests. Retrieved from:


NTI. Nuclear Security Index (2021, March, 21) The CNS North Korea Missile Test Database. Retrieved from:


Panmunjom Declaration. (2018, April 27): Retrieved from:


Park, J., & Harte, J. (2015). Inter-Korean relations and the unification process in regional and global contexts. Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU): Seoul


Powell, R. (2006). War as a Commitment Problem. International Organization, 60(1), 169-203


Rohner, D. (2018) Success Factors for Peace Treaties: A Review of Theory and Evidence.  Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie. Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.


Shin, B. (2018, June 22). The US-North Korea Summit Evaluation and South Korea’s Security Concerns. Asan Institute for Policy Studies.


Shin, H.  (2021, February 3) South Korea urges U.S. flexibility on sanctions to restart North Korea talks. Reuters. Retrieved from:


Shim, K.S. (2020, September 7) Lee In-young calls for 'small steps' to revive dialogue with North in Korea JoongAng Daily.  Retrieved from:


Sigal, L. V. (2020). Peace in Korea: A Way Forward International Journal of Korean Unification Studies, 29(1), 1-23


Sigal, L. V. (2013, March). Replacing the armistice with a peace treaty in Korea. in NAPSNet Policy Forum, 23.


Singapore Declaration, June, 12, 2018: Retrieved from: Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People Republic


Sung, K. Y. (2018). Evaluation of 2018 Inter-Korean Summit and Future Prospects.Online Series. Seoul : KINU


United Nations.  (2021, October 11) Military Confidence-building. United Nations. Office of Disarmament Affairs. Retrieved from:


United States Forces Korea (2015, August 13) United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission Investigates land mine detonation in demilitarized zone.  Retrieved from:


Vandenberg, L. (2019, October, 10) Sports Diplomacy: The Case of the Two Koreas. The Diplomat. Retrieved from:


Pau Álvarez Aragonès

Student at Pompeu Fabra University in his last year of Political Science and Global Studies. His great interest in the foreign relations of the European Union has led him to join all kinds of related organizations and think-tanks: UNSA Barcelona,, and European Guanxi.  Previously, he worked as an intern in the Public Affairs department of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, specializing in the management of NextGen funds. He has also been part of the organization team of the EUTOPIA Week. You can contact him on LinkedIn and Twitter