<Background and Purpose>
The purpose of this study was to develop a scientific method of analysis on North Korea’s willingness to use nuclear weapons.
◎ The significance of assessing North Korea’s willingness:
－ North Korea’s willingness is a critical factor in determining the likelihood of its use of nuclear weapons.
－ Despite the importance, it is very difficult to observe and determine willingness.
◎ Assessing North Korea’s willingness has relied upon qualitative methods.
－ To date, analysts have assessed North Korea’s willingness by using their experience and intuition and observing North Korea’s words, actions, and capabilities.
－ Capability is no longer a meaningful marker of willingness, while judgments based on observations are limited in their ability to screen out deceptive action.
We used a scientific method to determine whether North Korea would use nuclear weapons and used this to analyze its willingness.
◎ We quantified North Korea’s willingness to use nuclear force as an alternative to other kinds of provocation.
－ Levels of willingness can change depending on available policy alternatives and circumstantial conditions. Through this study, we quantified those different levels and expressed them in numeric form.
－ Our method was to simulate action and its consequence as they arise from interactive dynamics. This allowed us to predict what choice North Korea would make within a given circumstance, which we then used in a Monte Carlo test for robustness to quantify the different levels of willingness in each circumstance.
◎ Uncovering the correlation between willingness and action.
－ The received wisdom is that willingness leads to action. However, the simulation results indicate that in some cases, even a high level of willingness does not lead to action.
－ Thus, we posit through this study that willingness is one of the may, rather than all, of the factors that give rise to concrete action.