North Korea

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Does North Korea pose a credible threat to the United States?

Asked by Jonathan Crouse, from Coastal Carolina University

North Korea's capability to threaten the United States comes in two forms:

The possibility that North Korean-origin fissile material could be sent to the United States, either through sale to terrorist groups or by delivering a nuclear device to a U.S. harbor by boat, or;

The ability to threaten U.S. interests abroad, including through renewed conflict on the Korean peninsula, where 28,000 U.S. forces are stationed with the mission of defending South Korea from North Korean aggression.

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What are the costs and benefits of China's relationship with North Korea?

Asked by Garrett Smith, from Stanford University

Chinese officials see stability on the Korean peninsula under the Korean Armistice as a component that has enabled China's growth for over three decades. Despite a growing difference between the economic systems of China and North Korea, China's communist party leadership feels an affinity with North Korea because its government, like China's, pursues one-party leadership under a socialist banner.

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Why should the United States pay attention to the impoverished and economically devastated North Korea?

Asked by Jerome Kennedy, from Massachusetts

North Korea, formally called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), remains a top security concern for the United States, despite its moribund economy. The DPRK poses a serious potential military threat to its neighbors and to U.S. military bases and allies in the Pacific.

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Do North Korea’s nuclear capabilities give it a voice that cannot be ignored?

Asked by Yu Bum Kim, from New York University

Some argue that the best way to restrain North Korea is to strengthen sanctions, principally by putting more pressure on China to reduce its trade with North Korea. Others advocate a diplomatic approach and argue that engagement, not escalation, would be more effective. What all parties need to remember is that actions speak louder than words.

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Which option would be more effective in containing North Korea: Through unity with South Korea, diplomacy, or military intervention?

Asked by Seram Lee, from Pepperdine University

North Korea's ratcheting up of tensions requires South Korean and U.S. military forces in Korea to be prepared to defend against North Korean military incursions. Resumption of diplomacy will only be possible when North Korea signals it is ready to resume dialogue and all parties agree on an agenda that includes both tension-reduction and denuclearization.

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Audio

North Korea, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Regional Security in Northeast Asia

Speakers: Stephen W. Bosworth and Han Sung-Joo
Presider: Richard C. Bush III

Stephen Bosworth of Tufts University and Korea University's Han Sung-Joo join Richard Bush of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies to discuss the history of nuclear negotiations with North Korea and outline the potential policy options going forward.

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Audio

North Korea After Kim Jong-il

Speakers: Scott A. Snyder and Paul B. Stares
Presider: Anya Schmemann

The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has raised serious concerns over the future of the country and stability in the Korean peninsula. His son Kim Jong-un is now expected to take over the helm of the nuclear-armed Communist country, one of the most closed-off societies in the world. While some experts believe the country might see some reform in the period after Kim, others see little hope for change, especially in the ongoing effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons.

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Audio

U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force (Audio)

Speakers: Charles L. "Jack" Pritchard, Evans J.R. Revere, and Scott A. Snyder
Introductory Speaker: Anya Schmemann
Presider: David E. Sanger

Members of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula discuss the findings and recommendations of the report.

This Task Force is made possible in part by generous support from the Korea Foundation.

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Audio

U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula: Report of a CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force (Audio)

Speakers: Charles L. "Jack" Pritchard, John Tilelli Jr., and Scott A. Snyder
Introductory Speaker: Anya Schmemann
Presider: John C. Bussey

Members of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula discuss the findings and recommendations of the report.

This Task Force is made possible in part by generous support from the Korea Foundation.

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