Nuclear issue in the North Korea has been a problem widely discussed around the world in recent years, while the whole progress from the start of the nuclear crisis (The withdrawal of the North Korea from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003) to the cooperation (Six Party Talks) and its failure is quite dramatic and worth exploring (Fang, 2009). This paper attempted to use two perspectives including neorealism and neoliberalism to look at the issue, and examine their explanatory power. Accordingly, this paper recognized the importance of the two perspectives in explaining the issue. On one hand, neorealism showed the restraints and balancing behaviors of the states during the process of negotiation, implying the failure of the talks. On the other hand, neoliberalism contributed to clarification of the complexity constituted by different actors and problems in the issue, while demonstrating the rationality of states, as well as the birth of the institution forming international norms. Therefore, the author believed the two perspectives are not contradictory, but complementary.
What neorealism believes is fear and distrust originated from the anarchy of international system, resulting in the pursuit of power for survival. As stated by Mearsheimer (2010), power is the currency of international politics. The statement addressed a simple but important question: “why do states want power?” While “human nature” is always claimed by the classical realism, the neorealists, or the structural realists such as Mearsheimer specified the structure or architecture of the international system which forces states to pursue power. All states desire sufficient power to protect themselves from any attacks. Meanwhile, there is no higher authority above states in the international system, so there is also no guarantee that one will not attack another. As a result, states have to pursue power to ensure their own survival.
But how much power is enough? According to Mearsheimer (2010), power is a mean to an end and the ultimate end is survival. Under the self-help world, states have a desire to maximize their power to balance against each other, and therefore a world featuring “balance of power” is created. And power can be characterized by internal power and external power. The former is based on the material capabilities such as tangible military assets like nuclear weapons. The latter is to enter into alliances to find out the power of more powerful states or alliances. To be more specific, as country A might increase its military capability by producing more weapons and country B will fear of it. Therefore, country B would also produce more and more weapons to protect itself. Eventually, the fear among them became more serious. That is why the structure or architecture of the international system forces them to be more powerful at all. This relationship leads to the zero-sum game among the whole...