North Korea’s motivations for pursuing nuclear capabilities have changed over time, but are rooted in a sense of existential threats coming from outside the regime.
As tensions rise between North Korea and the United States, the European Union has strongly condemned and implemented new sanctions on Pyongyang. Yet Europeans are divided over North Korea’s threats and the United States’ unpredictable responses.
The North Korean nuclear crisis is far from over, and foreclosing escalation pathways is in the best interests of the United States, its allies, and Pyongyang.
Denuclearization of the North will not be possible to achieve, if it is possible to achieve at all, unless there is a transformational change in North Korea’s relationships with the United States and South Korea.
North Korea’s most recent nuclear test calls into question a more active cooperation between China and the United States to increase long-term regional stability. Despite agreeing on the goal of denuclearization on the peninsula, both countries have been unable to reach a real consensus.
Thoughtful and respectful leadership, close consultation with affected parties, and a commitment of real resources to assemble necessary leverage present a better chance than anything on offer so far.
If anything were needed to underline how much safer the Iran deal has made the United States, the menace of North Korea’s nuclear development surely qualifies.
While China can do more to crack down on trade with North Korea, the United States should work out the North Korea problem in a way that respects both China and its own national security interests.
It’s not enough to ask China to pressure Pyongyang to set up a U.S.-North Korea negotiation. China has to be a central part of the negotiation, too.
Attempts to secure strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region are being put to the test by increasingly tense relations in the U.S.-China relationship and concerns from U.S. allies in the region.