Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Katja Favretto

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2018 Tyler L Welty

OCLC Record Number



North Korea began opening an the path towards warmer international relations policy in early 2018, after making several threats against the United States and a series of missile test launches and nuclear tests. This paper argues that North Korea is warming relations because they identify as a nuclear state. If a country as openly hostile towards the United States as North Korea believes itself a nuclear power, then any diplomatic act is made with the knowledge that North Korea has the ability to attack the United States if anything goes wrong. North Korea knows that the United States would have more reasoning to deal diplomatically with the country instead of aggressively when these actions could risk mutually assured destruction.

The paper explores the history of North Korea and their nuclear abilities to see if these actions could be predicted given their past behavior. Next the paper explores international relations on why states cooperate and how nuclear weapons have effected state behavior. Then a variety of case studies of U.S. interactions with new nuclear powers seek to predict how the United States will interact with North Korea as s new nuclear power based off of previous dealings with other emerging nuclear states. The paper concludes that North Korea has the right to claim themselves as a nuclear state and craft agreements under the pretense of nuclear brinkmanship. However, the United States will not likely give up their policy of nonproliferation or easily accept North Korea's status. As a result, in line with both North Korea's own cyclical history of hostility and diplomacy, and realist motivations behind policy, it is unlikely that the current rounds of warming tension between the United States and North Korea will continue.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.