Nuclear Issues

608 Items

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump shake hands

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Could a ‘Big Freeze’ Be Trump’s Path to a Nobel Prize?

| July 11, 2019

By turning established diplomatic practice on its head and making an unscheduled stop to shake hands with Kim Jong Un in the DMZ, President Trump demonstrated his readiness to go the extra mile and beyond to meet the challenge his predecessor, Barack Obama, told him would define his presidency.

President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Analysis & Opinions - Fox News

Trump Takes Risky Gamble Meeting with Kim and Walking Into North Korea

| June 30, 2019

President Trump’s trip Sunday to the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea and his historic decision to cross briefly into North Korea was a made-for-TV diplomatic spectacular. But it was also a test of whether personal diplomacy can trump (so to speak) longstanding definitions of a country’s national interests by persuading North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to end his nuclear weapons program.

Eric Rosenbach (left), Belfer Center Co-Director, moderates a JFK Jr. Forum event with former ROK Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan, former U.S. Ambassador to ROK Kathleen Stephens, and former U.S. Forces Korea Commander General Vincent Brooks.

Benn Craig (Belfer Center)

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Inaugural Summit Grapples With Changes in Korean Security Landscape

    Author:
  • Dong-hyeon Kim
| Summer 2019

The Belfer Center’s Korea Project convened the inaugural Harvard Korean Security Summit at Harvard Kennedy School in early April. The Summit featured a prominent gathering of Korean security scholars and practitioners and increased attention to the field of Korean security studies within the Harvard community. Built on the vision of the late Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, who first launched Korean security initiatives at the Belfer Center, the event reflected the two traditions that drive the Belfer Center’s work: bringing together leading scholars and senior practitioners to jointly diagnose policy puzzles; and mentoring the next generation of scholars and practitioners.

Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A Theory of Engagement With North Korea

| May 2019

At the Hanoi Summit in February 2019, the United States and North Korea reached a familiar impasse—diplomacy broke down over the appropriate order of near-term steps, and the world was left wondering whether any package of rewards would be enough to incentivize denuclearization.

In a new Managing the Atom Discussion Paper, Christopher Lawrence outlines an alternative conceptual framework for engaging North Korea. Rather than offering rewards for nuclear rollback, the approach focuses on building credibility around the notion of a shared political future. Lawrence suggests that physical actions—such as shared investments in integrated rail, electricity, or mining infrastructure—speak more credibly about the political future for all the parties involved than do written commitments or more transient “carrots” and “sticks.” The international relationships created by infrastructure projects may alter North Korea's security calculus over time, and incrementally reduce its dependence on nuclear weapons. Drawing lessons from the 1994 Agreed Framework, Lawrence reinterprets the history of nonproliferation engagement with North Korea, and illuminates possible opportunities to break the diplomatic impasse after the Hanoi summit.

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un stands at attention as the Russian national anthem play in Vladivostok, Russia, April 26, 2019.

Alexander Khitrov (AP)

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

With North Korea, Russia Knows It Can Only Play Second Fiddle to China and US

| Apr. 25, 2019

While Putin has demonstrated that he can play a weak hand extremely well in some corners of the world, that is not the case on the Korean peninsula. There China holds the largest stock of carrots and the U.S. probably wields the biggest arsenal of sticks.