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 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. The U.S. Institute of Peace has supported efforts to strengthen peace and stability and prevent crisis on the Korean Peninsula. USIP collaborates with U.S. and regional experts, government officials, and diplomats to lead dialogues and conduct research exploring strategies for enhancing diplomacy, avoiding conflict, and managing crises related to North Korea.
Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in North Korea.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are simmering again as a result of North Korea’s launch of a military reconnaissance satellite, which prompted South Korea to lift restrictions on reconnaissance activities imposed by the 2018 inter-Korean Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA). The satellite, which was launched on November 21, utilized ballistic missile technology in violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Biden administration, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the G7 foreign ministers swiftly condemned the launch.
Despite widespread pessimism about the prospects for North Korea’s denuclearization and the utility of denuclearization diplomacy, Washington and Seoul continue to explore denuclearization dialogue with North Korea. In April, President Biden and President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea jointly confirmed in the Washington Declaration that, despite their primary focus on enhancing deterrence measures, they “remain steadfast in their pursuit of dialogue and diplomacy with [North Korea], without preconditions, as a means to advance the shared goal of achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Of course, no analyst can say with 100 percent certainty that North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons.