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  • The Failure of North Korean Containment: How Illicit Networks Fund the Nuclear Program—and the Need for a New Strategy

    The United States must accept a fundamental reality: the policy of forcing the Kim regime to relinquish its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief is untenable. It is no closer to achieving results than it was in 2010, even while the DPRK produces long-­range missiles and plans to develop tactical nuclear warheads. The failure of trade sanctions exhibits the need for a new strategy to deal with the DPRK and its nuclear arsenal. Therefore, the United States should use multilateral talks to negotiate incremental deals that produce tangible results and build trust. Put simply, an enforceable security guarantee, achieved through mutual peace declarations, will help normalize the DPRK’s international relations so that it can undergo economic reform and emerge as a legitimate global partner. Such measures are more likely to attain results that all partners can agree on and could, at a minimum, result in a moratorium on future nuclear production and development. Only then can talks of the DPRK’s complete denuclearization be possible.
     

  • Path to Nuclear Weapons: Balancing Deterrence, Preemption, and Defense for South Korea

    The US–Republic of Korea alliance has been crucial to South Korean security policy calculations, especially the component of extended nuclear deterrence. Recent Special Measures Agreement negotiations on sharing military cost suggests that the price for US extended deterrence is likely to increase in the years to come. In addition to the cost of the US–ROK alliance being put in the spotlight, North Korea’s insatiable appetite for nuclear weapons, including missiles of all ranges, arguments for South Korea’s nuclear weapons development and armament are surfacing in Seoul as they did in 2016 when North Korea conducted nuclear tests. This article examines policy options for South Korea by examining costs and benefits of the extended nuclear deterrence and nuclear weapons armament. Unless there is a crisis situation shocking enough to completely change the game and lead to disruption of the alliance relationship and its structure, or a change in North Korea’s level of violence and animosity, the shared values and goals between South Korea and the United States will make the nuclear path cost-prohibitive for South Korea.
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