With North Korea’s self-imposed, year-end deadline for a nuclear deal looming, USIP’s Frank Aum says that while complete denuclearization isn’t likely in the near term, “all of the components of a good-enough interim nuclear deal are there, but both sides need to be flexible on some of the harder issues.”
Pyongyang and Washington walked away from the negotiating table in Sweden this past weekend — with divergent statements on the first working-level meeting to be held since negotiations broke down at the February summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Hanoi.
Once U.S.-South Korean joint exercises conclude next week, USIP’s Frank Aum believes working-level negotiations with North Korea will resume. Despite the lack of progress over the last year, Aum says,...
It’s been over a month since President Trump became the first sitting American president to set foot in North Korea. After months of stalled talks, this third Trump-Kim meeting was greeted with optimism, as the two leaders agreed to resume working-level negotiations. Not only have those talks not started up again, but North Korea has since conducted several missile tests in what many experts believe is a bid to maintain pressure on Washington and Seoul.
News coverage of President Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has focused significantly on the optics of their televised encounter at the demarcation line separating North and South Korea. But according to two senior U.S. experts—Ambassador Joseph Yun, the former U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, and Frank Aum, who served as advisor for North Korea to four U.S. defense secretaries—the announced plan for a resumption of working-level talks is potentially significant.
A year after the first summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, “both sides are very much committed to diplomacy and trying to reach an agreement,” says Frank Aum. Despite the stalled talks, Aum says that Chinese President Xi’s visit to North Korea will likely encourage Kim to continue along the path of diplomacy.
Through the successive regimes of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un, North Korea has maintained near-total control over the information that reaches its citizens. Now, as more and more North Koreans use networked devices such as smartphones, the regime is employing modern forms of censorship and surveillance to control information and curtail freedom of expression. This report argues that the United States and its allies need a new information strategy to end the social isolation of the North Korean people and improve their long-term welfare.
For decades, North Korea’s provocative behavior and pursuit of nuclear weapons have threatened peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Various strategies to address the problem—including diplomatic, financial, and security incentives and disincentives—have delayed, but not ended, North Korea’s nuclear program. In the face of international condemnation, North Korea’s insistence on keeping its nuclear weapons has led to a diplomatic stalemate and the need for creative solutions to prevent a crisis.
This is the second in the Senior Study Group (SSG) series of USIP reports examining China’s influence on conflicts around the world. A group of fifteen experts met from September to December 2018 to assess China’s interests and influence in bringing about a durable settlement of the North Korean nuclear crisis. This report provides recommendations for the United States to assume a more effective role in shaping the future of North Korea in light of China’s role and interests. Unless otherwise sourced, all observations and conclusions are those of SSG members.
Patricia Kim analyzes the failure of the Hanoi Summit. “China should lean in,” says Kim discussing the spectrum of tools Beijing has available from diplomacy to unilateral sanctions. In future negotiations, the U.S. should focus on “hammering out a clearly defined and time bound roadmap that ends with the de-nuclearization of North Korea.”