Nuclear Issues

947 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.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer uses a handheld GR135- Radiation Isttope Identifier to check a container that was stopped after passing through a radiation detection device at the port of Newark in February 2006 (AP Photo/Mel Evans).

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Combating Nuclear Smuggling? Exploring Drivers and Challenges to Detecting Nuclear and Radiological Materials at Maritime Facilities

| June 03, 2019

International concern over nuclear terrorism has grown during the past few decades. This has driven a broad spectrum of efforts to strengthen nuclear security globally, including the widespread adoption of radiation-detection technology for border monitoring. Detection systems are now deployed at strategic locations for the purported purpose of detecting and deterring the smuggling of nuclear and radioactive materials. However, despite considerable investment in this area, few studies have examined how these programs are implemented or the operational challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. This article seeks to address this with a focus on radiation-detection efforts at maritime facilities. Utilizing practitioner interviews and a survey, this article identifies the factors that influence the planning and use of these systems in this fast-moving environment. The results clearly demonstrate that the implementation of these systems varies significantly across different national and organizational contexts, resulting in a fragmented global nuclear-detection architecture, which arguably undermines efforts to detect trafficked nuclear-threat materials. Greater consideration should therefore be given to developing international standards and guidance, designing and adopting tools to support key parts of the alarm assessment process, and broader sharing of good practice.

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.

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.