North Korea

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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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