55 Items

two hands reaching to shake in front of U.S. and North Korean flags.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci


Negotiating with North Korea: Key Lessons Learned from Negotiators' Genesis Period

| March 2024

Only a small handful of people in the world have sat at the negotiating table with the North Koreans and extensively interacted with them. Yet, this knowledge is fragmented and has not been collected or analyzed in a systematic manner. This report captures the findings from in-depth, one-on-one interviews with former senior negotiators from the United States and South Korea, who gained unique knowledge about North Korean negotiating behavior by dealing directly with their high-level North Korean counterparts. 

These negotiators collectively represent a body of negotiation experience and expertise starting from the early 1990s to late 2019, when North Korea ceased all negotiations with the United States. During that time, the conditions for productive negotiation changed dramatically – indeed, the conditions for the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework negotiations were much more favorable than during the Six-Party Talks of the mid-2000s or the Season of Summits during 2018-2019. For the “Negotiating with North Korea: Key Lessons Learned from Negotiators’ Genesis Period” project, a spotlight was placed on former senior negotiators’ early-stage experience preparing for and engaging in negotiations with the North Koreans. In doing so, tacit knowledge was captured to serve as a resource for future negotiators to inform and accelerate their own genesis period.

A wide shot of President Yoon at right on the stage in the JFK Jr Forum. At left, the audience.

Martha Stewart

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Women in Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center's Korea Project Co-Leads Planning for South Korean President's Historic Harvard Visit and Speech

| Spring 2023

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visited Harvard on April 28 and delivered a major policy speech at Harvard Kennedy School’s JFK Jr. Forum. Following his speech, President Yoon joined Harvard Distinguished Service Professor Joseph Nye for a conversation about security and soft power derived from the country's cultural strength. He also took questions from the large audience of students and others attending the event in person and online.

The Belfer Center’s Korea Project worked closely with Harvard University colleagues and Korean Consulate General counterparts to arrange for the visit and the Harvard speech, the first for a sitting South Korean president. The Kennedy School's Institute of Politics and the Korea Project co-sponsored the historic speech. 

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

Korea Project Conference Focuses on Complex Security Dynamics in Northeast Asia

| Fall 2022

A Belfer Center conference with the Seoul-based East Asia Institute (EAI) focused on U.S. priorities concerning the region’s security concerns amid other pressing global security challenges. Participants discussed impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war on the region and how to bolster U.S.-ROK cooperation on regional nuclear nonproliferation governance in light of the growing nuclear arsenals in China and North Korea.

The China Questions 2 book cover

Harvard University Press

Book Chapter - Harvard University Press

Where Do Divergent US and Chinese Approaches to Dealing with North Korea Lead?

| August 2022

For the United States, the dominant approach has been economic coercion. Despite applying stringent sanctions, the United States has been ineffective in convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal in return for a brighter economic and diplomatic future. The myriad U.S. sanctions have also failed to halt major progress in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. However, these setbacks have not caused the United States to change its strategy of economic coercion. On the contrary, the United States has considerably increased its use of this economic statecraft tool. In contrast, China has deepened its economic engagement with the North Korean regime since the late 2000s. Through the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and its counterpart the Workers’ Party of Korea, China has cultivated and monetized political ties. Doing so has provided a powerful mechanism through which the Kim family regime—leaders of North Korea’s ruling and prosperous 1 percent—has shored up stability and thrived.

Dancers celebrate DPRK–China friendship at the Arirang Mass Games in 2010

Roman Harak via Wikimedia Commons

Magazine Article - Harvard Kennedy School

Easing U.S. Sanctions on North Korea Could Benefit Both Sides, HKS Korea Expert Tells Lawmakers

| May 17, 2022

Appearing at a hearing May 12 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation, Park discussed U.S policy towards North Korea and described the challenges of using sanctions as a deterrent for North Korea’s nuclear saber rattling. Specifically, Park pointed to China’s deepening economic engagement with North Korea as one reason why western sanctions have largely failed to change Pyongyang’s behavior. “By free-riding off of China’s financial and domestic marketplace systems, North Korea can conduct vital commercial transactions beyond the reach of American sanctions,” Park said.

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.