a, Russia, Japan, and South Korea, have all expressed their wish for a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, while the UN Security Council (UNSC) continues to impose sanctions aimed at deterring North Korea from advancing its nuclear programme. However, the North Korean leadership continues to view nuclear weapons as an essential instrument to ensure its survival, as well as to give it a bargaining platform with its neighbours (Cumings, 2003: p10). Therefore, while the idea of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and inclusion of North Korea in such a strategy remains an interesting and desirable proposition, it is ultimately unrealistic as long as the current regime remains in power.
Most advocates of a denuclearised North Korea, according to Yi (2009: p766), argue for this outcome on the basis that North Korea may be convinced to abandon its programme if Japan, South Korea, and the United States committed never to pursue a nuclear attack on North Korea through a treaty. This nuclear weapon-free zone concept in Northeast Asia generally refers to North Korea, South Korea, and Japan at its core, while Russia, China, and the US would pledge not to use nuclear weapons in this zone. A treaty would bind signatory parties to refrain from possessing, producing, and testing such weapons. Moreover, another possibility underlying this zone is that the other countries may sign the treaty with North Korea joining at a later date, similar to the Latin America nuclear weapons-free zone, which Argentina and Brazil joined ten years after ratification by other countries (Yi, 2009: p766). In such a scenario, therefore, it may be assumed that North Korea would be willing to abandon its nuclear weapons program should the leadership get assurances that nuclear weapons will never be used within the zone, including against them.
Cha and Kang (2003: p61) argue that there are several conditions under which North Korea may denuclearise, noting that its leadership may cave to international