Is North Korea Part Of Asean

Introduction to North Korea

North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, located in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea is bordered by South Korea to the south, China to the northwest and Russia to the east. Its capital city is Pyongyang. The area of North Korea is 120,538 square km with a population of 25 million people; North Koreans speak mostly Korean. North Korea is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers’ Party and the General Secretary of the party is Kim Jong-un. North Korea is a country rich in culture and tradition, such as food, language, dance and music, and its signature dance, the Arirang Mass Dance, is one of its popular attractions. It has a rich philosophical and religious background and is known as ‘Land of the Morning Calm’.

North Korea and ASEAN

North Korea is not a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is a politico-economic organization comprising of 10 member countries in Asia. The ASEAN countries are mainly involved in economic integration and provide a platform for trade and investment for the region. North Korea’s relationship with ASEAN countries is limited to trade and diplomatic relations.
ASEAN countries have long been providing North Korea with economic assistance and they have also provided humanitarian aid to the region in times of need. North Korea, however, has recently been subject to sanctions due to its nuclear program, increasing the difficulty in establishing strong ties with the region. North Korea has also historically had strained relations with the United States and Japan, two prominent members of the ASEAN.
As North Korea is not an official member of ASEAN, it can’t take part in ASEAN summits and meetings, nor does it receive any economic benefits from the organization. The organization has yet to formally recognize North Korea as a member and many of the ASEAN countries are wary of establishing strong ties with North Korea due to its nuclear program and hostile foreign policy.

Stance of ASEAN

The current stance of ASEAN towards North Korea has not been one of support. The leadership of the organization has been wary of North Korea, citing its nuclear ambitions as a point of concern. While North Korea’s presence in the ASEAN region is limited, the organization has provided some assistance to North Korea in the past. For example, ASEAN nations have provided financial and diplomatic support for North Korea in the past and are also involved in two working groups that are focused on improving North Korean-ASEAN ties.
Although ASEAN nations have expressed interest in furthering economic cooperation and trade with North Korea, the full recognition of North Korea as a member is not expected to happen anytime soon. This is due to the distrust of North Korea among the ASEAN countries, a sentiment that has been fueled by the recent nuclear tests conducted by the Kim regime.

Perspectives of Experts

Experts agree that North Korea’s full inclusion into ASEAN would not be possible in the near future. They cite the sanctions imposed on North Korea as the primary reason behind this, as well as the distrust between the ASEAN members and North Korea.
“I believe it will be unlikely that North Korea would become a member of ASEAN anytime soon due to the international sanctions it is currently facing,” said Ji Ho Kim, a political analyst at Seoul National University. He also added that, “The ASEAN members also have considerable disagreements with North Korea on certain issues, including its nuclear program and human rights record.”
The experts also agree that despite the distrust and lack of trust between the ASEAN countries and North Korea, economic cooperation between the countries is possible in the future. It could be done by expanding cooperation in the energy sector, offering humanitarian support, and creating a better economic and legal environment for investments in North Korea.

North Korea’s Future in ASEAN

The future of North Korea in ASEAN will largely depend on its relationship with other nations, especially the United States and its allies in the region. A successful resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue and an improvement in its human rights situation could open the door for North Korea to be a member of ASEAN. The sanctions imposed on North Korea are still in effect, making North Korea’s full inclusion into the organization unlikely in the near future.

Possible Impact on Region

If North Korea were to become a member of ASEAN, it could have a potential positive impact on the region. North Korea’s presence in the organization could lead to improved regional ties and possible economic cooperation between the countries. It could also lead to greater dialogue and debates on various issues related to the region, such as security and sustainability.
Moreover, North Korea’s inclusion in ASEAN could also lead to better communication between the two sides. This could open the door for more collaborations, such as cultural exchanges and other people-to-people interactions, which could help introduce North Korean culture to the ASEAN countries. It could also lead to a better understanding between the two sides and could potentially result in improved ties.

Historical/Current Relations

North Korea’s ties with the ASEAN countries have been mostly limited to trade and diplomatic relations. North Korea currently has diplomatic offices in six out of the ten ASEAN countries and has established economic partnership agreements with the Philippines, Laos, and Indonesia. It has also recently opened up eight North Korean trade missions in the nations of Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam, in an effort to increase trade with the region.
Despite this, North Korean-ASEAN relations have been hindered by the sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations. These measures have largely limited North Korea’s trade with the region and have stifled economic cooperation. North Korea has also been reluctant to open up its nuclear negotiations, further limiting its chance to engage in meaningful dialogue with the ASEAN countries.

Actions Taken by North Korea

North Korea has taken several steps to improve its relations with the ASEAN countries. This includes improving its diplomatic ties with the organization and engaging in various initiatives spearheaded by the ASEAN. It has also opened up its economy to foreign investments from the organization. These investments could help North Korea’s economic development and could also open up the possibility of economic integration between North Korea and other ASEAN countries.
North Korea has also been engaging in several cultural initiatives in the region, including hosting cultural exchange programs and festivals. These events could open up the door to bettering ties with the ASEAN countries and could help promote North Korean culture abroad.

Future Outlook

The outlook of North Korea joining ASEAN is uncertain at best. The current relationships between the two sides are limited and strained due to international sanctions and mistrust. However, experts believe that if these issues can be resolved, there is a chance that North Korea could become a full member of the organization in the future. In the meantime, North Korea should continue to engage in diplomatic efforts with ASEAN countries and take steps to improve its human rights record and relations with other nations in order to foster better ties with the regional bloc.

Perspective of North Korea

North Korea has generally had a positive outlook towards its relationship with ASEAN countries. It has welcomed the initiatives of the ASEAN countries and has also expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue and cooperation. North Korea’s leadership has stated its commitment to developing a better relationship with the ASEAN countries in order to foster better economic and cultural ties.

Actions of ASEAN

ASEAN has taken several steps to improve its ties with North Korea and has welcomed North Korea’s initiatives. In 2019, the ASEAN countries formed two working groups that aim to improve the relationship between North Korea and ASEAN. They have also offered economic assistance to North Korea, albeit limited due to the international sanctions. The ASEAN nations continue to call for dialogue and diplomatic efforts between the two sides, in the hopes that the two sides can find a peaceful resolution to the issues between them.


North Korea is not an official member of ASEAN and its relationship with the organization has been strained due to international sanctions. Despite this, ASEAN countries have offered some assistance to North Korea, and North Korea has expressed a willingness to engage in dialogue and cooperation. In the future, North Korea’s relationship with the ASEAN countries will depend on its efforts to resolve the nuclear issue and improve its human rights record. Furthermore, North Korea should continue to engage in diplomacy with the regional bloc and take steps to foster better economic and cultural ties with the ASEAN countries.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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