WikiLeaks' cables on North Korea's missile sales to Iran have raised newconcerns about the country's proliferation activities. Expert Jeffrey Lewis says Pyongyang's procurement networks pose the biggest threat, and recommends the international community strengthen interdiction measures.
With tensions on the Korean peninsula continuing to arouse U.S. concern, expert Leon Sigal calls for the United States and South Korea to support a peace process and political and economic engagement with North Korea.
With Tuesday's military promotions, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il created a triumvirate to succeed him. But this "collective leadership" will not change relations with the United States anytime soon, says CFR expert Sue M. Terry.
Washington's new sanctions against North Korea, focusing on international financial institutions and banking systems, are likely to have more impact than trade sanctions, says North Korea economic expert Marcus Noland.
A South Korean security expert says it is likely that North Korea will ratchet up pressure over the summer through threats and possible missile tests if Washington refuses to engage Pyongyang in direct talks.
If North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visits China as reportedly scheduled, he will be urged to return to Six Party Talks. But the U.S. and North Korea are at a standoff, says CFR Korea expert Scott Snyder, with North Korea demanding a peace treaty and the United States insisting on denuclearization.
Asia policy expert Michael Green says the Obama administration is taking a cautious approach to any bilateral talks on North Korea's denuclearization, noting Pyongyang's backsliding after the Bush administration adopted a softer tone.
Korea expert Victor D. Cha says effective implementation of the UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in June prompted recent conciliatory gestures from the regime. He says the United States might resume bilateral talks with North Korea in addition to pursuing multilateral discussions on Pyongyang's nuclear program.
CFR Korea expert Scott A. Snyder says the visit to Pyongyang by former President Bill Clinton, which won the pardon of two U.S. journalists, provided a rare opportunity to gauge North Korea's views as nuclear talks remain stalled.
Human rights in North Korea have been on the diplomatic back burner with Washington preoccupied over the nuclear question. Human rights specialist Roberta Cohen proposes a multilateral security mechanism for Northeast Asia that focuses on a broad range of issues, from energy to human rights.
CFR's Northeast Asia expert Sheila A. Smith says it is imperative for the United States to make it clear that it will not accept a nuclear North Korea. The UN's nonproliferation regime is also facing a moment of truth, she says.
CFR's Scott A. Snyder says North Korea's recent moves away from the process to end its nuclear programs could arise from new developments on leadership succession and a desire to change the terms of engagement with Washington.
CFR's Sheila Smith says Pyongyang's latest attempt at a rocket launch shows the regime is clearly bent on acquiring a nuclear delivery capability. She says Washington must reassure North Korea that diplomacy is the only way forward.
Don Oberdorfer, a leading expert on North and South Korea, says he sees no evidence North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has moved to relinquish control, despite reports concerning his illness and succession.
Gary Samore, who was active in nuclear diplomacy with North Korea in the Clinton administration, says the latest agreement between the United States and North Korea is only a "very modest step forward" because it allows the next administration to proceed further in seeking a nuclear-disarmed North Korea.
CFR's Gary Samore says North Korea's declaration on its nuclear activities and lifting of sanctions by the United States marks "a useful initial step" but more work needs to be done to ensure disarmament.
Gary Samore, a senior arms-control negotiator in the Clinton administration, says the Bush administration has agreed to a compromise with North Korea on demands for it to confess the extent of its uranium-enrichment activities.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.