As of early 2020, the outlook for the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains uncertain. The 2018-2019 positive dynamics (which began in the run-up to the XXIII Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang and continued with a series of US-DPRK and ROK-DPRK summits) appears to have fizzled out. At the same time, it is safe to conclude that the engagement and nuclear diplomacy of 2018 and 2019 had generated tangible results and proved its value in terms of reducing tensions and addressing security problems in the region. The unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches had restricted for almost two years Pyongyang’s ability to further develop its nuclear and missile capabilities. If the DPRK were to completely dismantle its facilities at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Centre (something that was discussed at the Hanoi Summit), Pyongyang would have significantly reduced its capability to make weapons-usable fissile materials and would also essentially freeze its thermonuclear program. What kind of developments should be expected in the region during the upcoming months and what kind of risk reduction measures could be considered? These and other questions will be discussed during this seminar.

Mr. Anton Khlopkov is Director of the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), based in Moscow, and Chairman of the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference. He leads CENESS projects to pursue Track II dialogue on pressing nuclear issues with experts from Iran and North Korea. He paid ten separate visits to Pyongyang in 2012–2019. Khlopkov is the author and co-author of the reports and monographs: ‘Iran’s Nuclear Program in the Russia-US Relations’, ‘At the Nuclear Threshold: The Lessons of North Korea and Iran for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime’, and ‘Prospects for Nuclear Power in the Middle East: Russia’s Interests’. He graduated from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI, now the National Research Nuclear University).  Khlopkov was Executive Director of the PIR Center (Center for Policy Studies in Russia), and a Visiting Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.