85 Items

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.

Trump and Kim shake hands at the Hanoi summit meeting on February 27, 2019 (Shealah Craighead/Official White House Photo).

Shealah Craighead/Official White House Photo

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

After the Hanoi Summit: Next Steps for the US, North Korea, and Vietnam

| Mar. 02, 2019

In the aftermath of the Hanoi summit, it is important to assess how U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will proceed to avoid a collapse of the denuclearization process as well as how Vietnam can reap long-term benefits for its international profile and tourism industry. It may be the case that the Hanoi summit was a failure, but a necessary one in the context of growing unrealistic expectations from both Washington and Pyongyang. Vietnam still has a lot to do after the summit to continue contributing to North Korea’s reform and denuclearization.

The delegation of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry led by Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, left, meets with North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Feb. 13, 2019 (Cha Song Ho/Associated Press).

Cha Song Ho/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Trump-Kim 2: Why Hanoi?

| Feb. 15, 2019

It was finally revealed by Trump via his usual communication channel – Twitter – that Hanoi was the venue for the much-anticipated meeting. It is most likely that the choice of venue was made with consent from Kim; thus the decision also gave clues as to North Korea’s intentions in participating in, and plans for the upcoming Hanoi summit.

Hanoi (a_brlnr via Flickr)

a_brlnr via Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The Diplomat

Why Vietnam Should Host the Second Trump-Kim Summit

| Jan. 16, 2019

Last week, CNN reported that Hanoi, alongside with Bangkok and Hawaii l, has been shortlisted by the United States as possible venue for a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. At the same time, citing an anonymous South Korean diplomat, the Korean Herald put Hanoi, Hawaii, and Singapore instead of Bangkok as top candidates for the follow-up meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea after their historic talk in Singapore last year. According to another South Korean newspaper, the Munhwa Ilbo, it was also Hanoi where American and North Korean officials met recently to discuss the planning for this event.

In this image made from video provided by Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose after signing documents in Pyongyang on Sept. 19, 2018 (Korea Broadcasting System via AP).

Korea Broadcasting System via AP

Analysis & Opinions - War on the Rocks

A Window into Kim's Nuclear Intentions? A Closer Look at North Korea's Yongbyon Offer

| Jan. 15, 2019

Is North Korea serious about denuclearizing in exchange for a new peace architecture on the Korean Peninsula? Analysts are split on the matter. Many reject the possibility out of hand, insisting that the regime views nuclear weapons as essential to its identity and security for the indefinite future. Others point to North Korea’s security environment as the root cause of its perceived need for nuclear weapons, and suggest that if its hostile environment were to change, the regime might be less committed to remaining a nuclear weapons state.

People at Seoul Train Station watch a a local news program reporting about a North Korean missile launch. Aug. 30, 2017 (Lee Jin-man/Associated Press).

Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

Journal Article - The RUSI Journal

North Korea’s Missile Programme and Supply-Side Controls: Lessons for Countering Illicit Procurement

| Oct. 17, 2018

Despite one of the most extensive sanctions regimes in history, including an embargo on missile technologies, North Korea has taken huge steps forward in its ballistic missile programme. Daniel Salisbury explores the limitations of, and challenges of implementing, supply-side approaches to missile nonproliferation. Considering North Korea’s recent progress and efforts to evade sanctions, the article highlights the continuing need to strengthen efforts to counter illicit trade in missile-related technologies.

Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

Blogtrepreneur/Flickr

Journal Article - Nonproliferation Review

Solving the Jurisdictional Conundrum: How U.S. Enforcement Agencies Target Overseas Illicit Procurement Networks Using Civil Courts

| September 2018

Over the past two decades, the United States has increasingly turned to targeted sanctions and export restrictions, such as those imposed against Iran and North Korea, in order to curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction. One vexing problem, however, is how to contend with jurisdictional hurdles when the violations occur overseas, in countries that are unable or unwilling to assist US enforcement efforts. To solve this problem, US prosecutors are turning to strategies with significant extraterritorial implications—that is, exercising legal authority beyond national borders. One such tool is to use civil legal procedures to seize assets linked to sanctions or export-control violations in jurisdictions that lack cooperative arrangements with US enforcement agencies. While this may be an attractive strategy to bolster enforcement efforts against overseas illicit procurement, using such tools is not without consequence. This article explores the political, legal, and technical implications of enforcing extraterritorial controls against overseas non-state actors by exploring the recent uses of civil-asset forfeiture against Iranian and North Korean procurement networks.

AP/Evan Vucci, Wong Maye-E

AP/Evan Vucci, Wong Maye-E

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

A Roadmap for the Day After the Trump-Kim Summit

| Apr. 17, 2018

President Trump surprised almost everyone—probably not the least Kim Jong-un—when he agreed to meet the North Korean leader at the end of May (now maybe early June). By accepting Kim’s invitation, President Trump overturned decades of conventional wisdom on how to separate North Korea from its nuclear and other WMD programs. If Trump and Kim meet—as of now this is still a big “if,” although North Korea has now confirmed its willingness to meet directly—the summit could be an important ice breaker and open up a chance to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis and bring peace to the Korean peninsula. But success, however remote it may seem, will require new thinking and entail major risks. It will also require a plan.