Rethinking North Korea’s Denuclearization: Approaches and Strategies

Asia Paper June, 2015, pp. 63

The North Korean nuclear issue has become increasingly intractable. The Six Party Talks have stalled since December 2008, while North Korea’s nuclear program has continued apace. On the one hand, the international community—led by the United States and South Korea—demands meaningful action on the part of North Korea to undertake denuclearization measures before Six Party Talks can resume. On the other hand, North Korea points to the need for security assurances and the cessation of the U.S. “hostile policy,” which it claims is the main reason for its nuclear program. This Gordian Knot on the Korean Peninsula continues to vex policy makers and analysts alike. In a situation of deadlock, it is more necessary than ever to examine the issue with fresh thinking to try and understand why previous negotiations and agreements have failed to result in a sustainable resolution of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula—and which therefore underscores the need for new approaches and strategies. In light of the above, it is important to ask if there is still a chance for negotiations to succeed? If so, how should we utilize the opportunity? What is the most appropriate approach to deal with North Korea’s denuclearization today? And what kind of roadmap to denuclearization can be drawn? This paper by Park Chang-kwoun, a Senior Research Fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, endeavors to answer these questions and provide some insight and ideas for future steps that the international community should consider for resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.