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Tough Challenges, Hard Choices: Dealing with North Korea after the Collapse of the Leap Day Agreement

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North Korea's threat to the United States and our regional allies is increasing after the latest failure of diplomacy to halt Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. These programs can now grow without restraint and the North is on track to build a warhead that could eventually strike the United States. Additionally, Pyongyang has made it clearer than ever that it does not intend to give up its nuclear weapons. Dealing with these and other challenges, including proliferation, requires a robust U.S. response based on containment, deterrence, and pressure, while simultaneously leaving the door open to negotiations if Pyongyang is serious about denuclearization. Such an approach is not without risks, including the potential to destabilize a North Korean regime that may be moving into a period of vulnerability. Working closely with our allies, and with a reluctant China, is essential. The time to begin crafting such an approach is now.

Keywords: Leap Day; North Korea; Six-Party Talks; U.S. policy; missile; nuclear

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2012

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