The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: An Assessment of the Legal Justification of the Use of Force by the United States


Since the outbreak of North Korean nuclear crisis, there have been many calls on the United States government to apply tougher measures on the DPRK to deal with its provocations and defiance on the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Regime. Tougher measures on North Korea include sanctions and the use of force. However, any eventual use of force by the United States on North Korea will be illegal if it does not meet the criteria of the Caroline Doctrine that requires that anticipatory self-defense be both necessary and proportional. Furthermore, any use of force that goes beyond the Caroline Doctrine will undermine the Articles 2 and 51 of the United Nations Charter that allows war only in self-defense. Given the fact that any use of force on North Korea will challenge the normative basis on which global society has been supported, it is imperative to solve the nuclear crisis through negotiations by continuing the Six Party Talks, with a commitment not only on the part of the DPRK to give up its nuclear program but also on the United States to sign a Non-Aggression Pact with Pyongyang that replaces the armistice of 1953, so as to assure that its survival as a State will not be at stake.

Keywords: Legal, North Korean, Nuclear Crisis, United States, Use of Force

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 15-25 (Download PDF)

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