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.
Gary Samore, a former top U.S. official on arms control policy, says Bush administration policymakers have concluded that North Korea has decided to delay any progress on nuclear disarmament until a new administration takes office in spite of pledges to the contrary.
Don Oberdorfer, an Asia expert who has written a history of North and South Korea, says the latest developments on North Korea indicate that “for once on the Korean peninsula, the stars are in alignment.”
Gary Samore, an arms control official in the Clinton National Security Council and CFR’s director of studies, says it remains a mystery whether Syria was working with North Korea to receive nuclear technology. He adds, however, that it would make sense that Syria would be interested to develop some kind of deterrent, given that its neighbor, Israel, is said to have nuclear weapons.
George Perkovich, a leading specialist on nuclear non-proliferation, says that among the current problems with North Korea, India, and Iran, Iran is the most important to resolve because the Iranians are trying to defy international opinion and produce a nuclear weapons capability after having been exposed in the act of trying.
Alan D. Romberg, a longtime State Department expert on North Korea, says an important element in the agreement on Pyongyang halting its nuclear activities is the future of nuclear weapons already produced.
Gary Samore, a North Korea expert, says he believes Pyongyang will close down its Yongbyon reactor. But he says it will be difficult to proceed further because of North Korea’s continuing desire to be rewarded with light-water nuclear reactors.
David Albright, a well-known expert on Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs, says the North Korean insistence on getting their benefits before carrying out their obligations can only slow down the implementation of the deal for ending North Korea’s nuclear program.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »