, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 41-56
Date: 26 Feb 2012

A step as normative power: the EU’s human rights policy towards North Korea

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This paper examines the extent to which the European Union (EU) could be a normative power with the ability to define what passes for normal in a globalized world in its North Korean policy. In contrast with a rationalist view that limits the possibility of engagement and underestimates the implications of the EU’s role in promoting North Korea’s human rights conditions, constructivist-inspired approaches provide an alternative explanation by arguing that the pursuit of value-oriented policies is constitutive of actors’ perceived normative identities. To this end, this paper investigates how humanitarian aid, institutionalized dialogues and multilateral approach are employed to endorse the EU’s position as a normative power. In so doing, it also argues how and to what extent these normative operations are affected by its virtue, deontological and consequentialist ethics.