The EU's North Korea policies do not hit the headlines. That is mainly due to the fact that Brussels is not part of the so-called 6-Party Talks, a multilateral forum established in 2003 to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear ambitions verifiably and for good.
Due to reasons explained in this Policy Brief, the participants of the 6-Party Talks, the US, Japan, Russia, China, South Korea and North Korea have not encouraged the EU to join the 6-Party Talks de-facto excluding the EU from having a role in security and nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsular. The EU is seemingly satisfied with this non-role in security and nuclear issues in North Korea limiting itself to offer verbal “political support” for the 6-Party Talks.
Brussels’ reluctance to get in involved in security and nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsular, this author argues, undermines Brussels’ credibility and impact as global security actor in general, and in Asia in particular.
Leaving hard security issues aside, Brussels remains engaged in North Korea through (albeit currently very limited) food and humanitarian and sporadic institutional exchanges facilitated by the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2001.
Due to the lack of resources and more importantly support from EU Member States, however, it remains unlikely that Brussels will resume the ambitious and comprehensive economic engagement course and policies formulated and partly implemented in the early 2000s.