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Contradictions in the Obama Administration's Policy-in-Formation Toward North Korea

Author: Scott A. Snyder, Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy
May 3, 2009
GlobalSecurity.org

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There are at least four potential contradictions that the Obama administration may face as it attempts to carry out the three themes of reassurance of allies, openness to diplomatic engagement, and the strict punishment of proliferation-related actions that have developed as early characteristics of the Obama administration's policy-in-formation toward North Korea during his first hundred days:

1) Given North Korea's April 14th and April 28th announcements that it will leave the six party talks and conduct more missile and nuclear tests in response to the UN Security Council Presidential statement and imposition of sanctions on three North Korean firms, how can the Obama administration respond without feeding additional escalatory actions by North Korea? 2) Will the part-time nature of Ambassador Bosworth's role hamper his effectiveness as a policy coordinator within the Obama administration? 3) How will the administration respond in coordination with South Korean and Japanese allies in the event that North Korea appeals for a bilateral U.S.-DPRK negotiation? 4) What is the significance for North Korea of the Obama administration's early efforts to engage Iran?

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