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.
Gary Samore, an expert on North Korean nuclear policy, says he is “very skeptical” that the Bush administration can make a deal to end North Korea’s nuclear program when the Six-Party Talks resume. “The North Koreans are determined to retain their nuclear weapons and the United States supported by Japan is demanding complete, irreversible, verifiable disarmament,” says Samore, who participated in negotiations with North Korea in the Clinton administration.
Adam Segal, a leading expert on China’s military and technological policies, says that North Korea’s decision to test missiles and explode a nuclear device in the face of Chinese warnings has produced “a great deal of tension” in relations between the two Communist countries. “So for the Chinese it’s not only a loss of face because they had been taking the lead in trying to bring North Korea back to the negotiation table, but I think there’s also a great deal of anger personally at Kim and the Korean military,” says Segal.
Gary Samore, an expert on nuclear proliferation who took part in negotiations with North Korea in the 1990s for the Clinton administration, says the decision by North Korea to test a nuclear device was “a purely political act.”
Alan D. Romberg, a leading expert on Asia, says that in the aftermath of North Korea’s announced nuclear test, and with China and North Korea “angry” at each other, it falls to the United States to try to get six-party negotiations resumed.
Michael A. Levi, a CFR expert on nuclear weapons and technology, says North Korea may have decided to announce plans for a nuclear test to offset signs of “weakness” caused by the failure of its long-range missile.
Hezbollah rockets strike deeper into Israel and North Korea continues to progress with missile testing. CFR missile expert Michael A. Levi says these developments are likely to tighten U.S. bonds with allies Israel and Japan on missile defense efforts despite mixed results on technology.
Michael A. Levi, a CFR expert on weapons technology, says North Korea's missile tests were an effort not only to test these missiles, but to gain a measure of world attention, particularly from the United States, with which North Korea "has a great desire for recognition."
Graham Allison, a leading expert on nuclear terrorism, says the Bush administration policy toward North Korea of "threaten and neglect" has been a failure. He also warns that faulty U.S. intelligence may be underplaying the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program.
Aaron L. Friedberg, an East Asian expert and former deputy national security adviser for Vice President Dick Cheney, says the U.S. program of cracking down on North Korean counterfeiting and other illicit activities is the only way to hope for a breakthrough in the stalled disarmament talks.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.