Nuclear Issues

452 Items

A satellite photo showing heavy snows along the Korean coast, mid-February 2011.

NASA images courtesy MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

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

A Policy of Public Diplomacy with North Korea

| August 2021

The Biden administration has emphasized the importance of alliances and core values of democracy in its foreign policy approach. Given this emphasis, public diplomacy—activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign audiences—should be considered an essential tool in achieving our long-term policy objectives in North Korea. Public diplomacy has the potential to spur domestic change in North Korea—change that could result in improved human rights conditions, leading to behavioral change in the Kim regime, and eventually denuclearization.

The embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in Moscow in 2008 (Denghu/Wikimedia Commons).

Denghu/Wikimedia Commons

Journal Article - Asian Security

Spies, Diplomats and Deceit: Exploring the Persistent Role of Diplomatic Missions in North Korea’s WMD Proliferation and Arms Trafficking Networks

| July 05, 2021

North Korea frequently uses diplomatic missions, diplomats and intelligence officers in its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation and arms trafficking networks. The paper places the use of these assets in historical context, provides a basic typology of their role, and considers why they have featured in North Korea’s networks. The paper identifies a number of trends surrounding the use of North Korean missions – including the types and locations of missions featuring in specific types of proliferation and arms dealing activities, the prominence of larger missions and use of third country and regional hubs. It argues that the persistence of these assets in the DPRK’s networks is largely a result of convenience and diplomatic immunity. The paper concludes by recommending further action to counter these assets while arguing that the phenomenon will continue to be a challenging feature of North Korea’s proliferation and arms trading activities.

Photo of U.S. Gen. Vincent Brooks commander of the United Nations Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command, speaks during an opening ceremony for the new headquarters of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Friday, June 29, 2018.

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool)

Magazine Article

'This Is a Window of Opportunity.' Ret. General Vincent K. Brooks on Why Things Might Be Moving Again With North Korea

| June 24, 2021

Few know the intricacies of the North Korean problem better than General Vincent K. Brooks, who retired from active duty in January 2019 as a four-star general in command of over 600,000 Koreans and Americans comprising the U.S. Forces Korea, U.N. Command and ROK-U.S. Combined Forces. He also previously served as commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific.

Now a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, General Brooks spoke to TIME about opportunities for a breakthrough with North Korea during the Biden Administration.

Mohammad Javad Zarif during the Munich Security Conference 2019

Balk /MSC

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“Transactional” Nuclear Diplomacy May Provide a Path toward “Grand Bargains” with Iran and North Korea

| Apr. 29, 2021

Proponents of “transactional” diplomacy argue that comprehensive deals to transform political relationships are unrealistic, and that zeroing in on the most pressing issue is the only way to make any tangible progress. The “grand bargainers” retort that any deal that isn’t comprehensive will face fatal opposition from important stakeholders.

Both arguments have some merit, but the perceived distinction between them is a false one: Past engagements with Iran and North Korea were premised on the hope that piecemeal transactions could provide a platform for more sweeping diplomacy. And the best nonproliferation progress has been achieved when all sides perceived diplomatic transactions as incremental steps toward broader reconciliation.

missile test

Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Falling in Love Again: U.S.-North Korean Relations and the Biden Administration

| Apr. 26, 2021

William d'Ambruoso explains why high-level engagement, built on a baseline of deterrence, lessens the chances of war and opens the way for future cooperation in North Korean–U.S. relations.

In this June 14, 2019, file photo, South Korean army soldiers patrol while hikers visit the DMZ Peace Trail in the demilitarized zone in Goseong, South Korea. 

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Implications of the 2020 Presidential Election on North Korea Policy

| Fall 2020

In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, the Belfer Center’s Korea Project co-sponsored an event on October 6 with the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Boston to explore the impact of the election outcome on North Korea policy. A group of diverse policy analysts drew on their collective experience serving in various administrations and conducting cutting-edge research on North Korea for a lively panel discussion.