North Korea

News Release

U.S. Should Sharpen Strategy and Enlist China to Counter Threat from North Korea, Says CFR Task Force

A new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Independent Task Force report, A Sharper Choice on North Korea: Engaging China for a Stable Northeast Asia, finds that the United States’ policy of “strategic patience” with North Korea will neither halt that country’s recurring and dangerous cycle of provocation nor ensure the stability of Northeast Asia in the future. To the contrary, the Task Force warns, “If allowed to continue, current trends will predictably, progressively, and gravely threaten U.S. national security interests and those of its allies.” 

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How to Deal With North Korea

Authors: Mike Mullen and Sam Nunn
Washington Post

North Korea’s accelerating nuclear and missile programs, including its recent nuclear test, pose a grave and expanding threat to security, stability and peace in Asia and the rest of the world. This threat affects close U.S. allies — South Korea and Japan — and U.S. personnel and facilities in the region. In the coming months and years, it will create increasing danger for the United States.

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North Korea Nuclear Ambition Lives in the Gap Between U.S. and China–So Close It

Author: Scott A. Snyder
The Guardian

Because North Korea thrives in the gap created by Sino-U.S. strategic mistrust and the most dangerous threat to the Kim Jong-un regime’s legitimacy comes from South Korea, the most effective way of conveying to him that his regime’s survival depends on denuclearization would be through coordination of a trilateral strategy among the United States, China, and South Korea., writes CFR Senior Fellow Scott Snyder.

See more in North Korea; United States; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Politics and Strategy


China-Korea Relations: New Sanctions, Old Dilemmas

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

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February drew global opposition in the form of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2270 and condemnation by regional leaders. Pyongyang promptly dismissed such calls with a series of short- and mid-range missile launches in March and April. 

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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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Policy Innovation Memorandum No. 54

Addressing North Korea’s Nuclear Problem

Author: Scott A. Snyder

Since defecting from Six Party negotiations on denuclearization in 2008, North Korea has pursued nuclear development unchecked by international constraints. Scott A. Snyder outlines steps the United States should take to lead coordinated multilateral action opposing North Korea’s nuclear status, while still leaving a denuclearized North Korea a route for regime survival. 

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Media Conference Call: North Korean Cyberattack on Sony Pictures (Audio)

Speakers: Adam Segal and Scott A. Snyder
Presider: Robert McMahon

Adam Segal, CFR senior fellow for China studies, and Scott A. Snyder, CFR senior fellow for Korea studies, discussed the cyberattack on Sony Pictures and the studio's decision to cancel its release of The Interview, a comedy that reportedly depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

See more in North Korea; Cybersecurity; Homeland Security