North Korea

Analysis Brief

Shrugging Off Sanctions

The UN Security Council has barred member states from supplying North Korea with missile parts in response to recent tests. The country with the most leverage in North Korea—China—has mostly buffered Pyongyang from strong action but could be losing patience with its neighbor.

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Analysis Brief

Preventing Ballistic Surprises

North Korea's recent missile tests and Iran's ongoing quest for nuclear weaponry illustrate the need for an effective strategy to prevent other rogue states from acquiring nuclear technology. A relatively new program to interdict suspect shipments on the high seas is gaining favor around the world.

See more in Proliferation; North Korea; Iran

Analysis Brief

North Korea Missile Tests Draw World's Ire

The North Korean test-firing of a mix of short- and medium-range missiles drew the anger of Japan, the United States, and other leading nations. One missile, a long-range Taepodong 2 that exploded in mid-air, caused particular concern in Washington as experts say it is designed to reach the West Coast of the United States.

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Analysis Brief

North Korea Flexes Its Muscles

North Korea has made threatening moves toward testing a long-range ballistic missile, prompting warnings from the United States and Japan. Some experts say it may be more productive to focus on economic engagement with Pyongyang than disarmament.

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Analysis Brief

North Korea Flirts with Capitalism

As North Korea's economy continues its free fall, President Kim Jung-Il is trying something new: capitalism. But despite gradual trade and market reforms, Kim's commitment to the new path is uncertain, and his regime's involvement in international crime and money-laundering is growing.

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Why North Korean Threat Is a More Urgent Issue for Next U.S. President

Author: Scott A. Snyder

The more vulnerable Kim Jong Un feels atop a weakening North Korea, the more he seeks a silver bullet to ensure the regime's long-term survival. On May 6, Kim may enjoy a Korean Worker's Party conference that will celebrate his achievements and consolidate his rule. He may even think that his nuclear deterrent has bought time and saved money that can be used to improve North Korea's economy. But the regime's own systemic need to generate instability as a primary means of exerting domestic political control guarantees that the young leader will never have enough nuclear weapons to achieve absolute security, writes Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

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North Korea's H-bomb and the Costs of American Indifference

Author: Scott A. Snyder
Washington Examiner

The White House moved quickly to debunk North Korea's exaggerated claim that a Jan. 5 "artificial earthquake" at the site where Pyongyang had conducted three previous nuclear tests was a breakthrough detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The size of the blast was similar to that of North Korea's January 2013 test and had a yield thousands of times lower than the yield expected of a hydrogen blast. But in downplaying North Korea's claim so as not to feed Kim Jong-un's cravings for international attention, the Obama administration risks underplaying the growing danger posed by North Korea's unchecked efforts to develop nuclear and missile capabilities needed to threaten a nuclear strike on the United States.


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U.S. Policy Toward North Korea

Author: Scott A. Snyder
SERI Quarterly

"The complex evolution of the Obama administration's policy toward North Korea during its first term and the characteristics of President Obama's world view together provide a framework for considering what the administration is likely to do in a second term," says Scott A. Snyder.

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China-Korea Relations: China’s Post-Kim Jong Il Debate

Authors: Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun
Comparative Connections

Scott A. Snyder and See-won Byun observe that while the twenty-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea may provide a pretext for more active diplomacy to meet a growing list of potential disputes in the relationship, high-level contacts between China and North Korea have stalled, dampening China's hopes for regional engagement.

See more in South Korea; China; North Korea