Return to   |   Subscribe to the Korea Update

Council on Foreign Relations Korea Update
April 2012

Responding to North Korea's Missiles, Nukes, and False Promises

Scott A. Snyder

In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, CFR Senior Fellow Scott A. Snyder discussed the shortcomings of the U.S.-DPRK Leap Day Agreement, and offered recommendations on how to curb North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The record of U.S. negotiations with North Korea shows that neither carrots nor sticks have been effective in influencing North Korea's behavior. North Korea's behavioral change will not be a product of negotiation, but rather of the regime's own changed calculus based on its internal circumstances. The United States must work harder in the future to create an environment in which North Korea recognizes that its only way forward will require abandonment of the nuclear path. Read the Testimony »


North Korea: Again Provocative

Rocket Failure: The Good and the Bad

North Korea's failed attempt to launch the Unha-3, a new three-stage, long-range ballistic missile, is for obvious reasons welcome. But any sigh of relief must be tempered, as the test took place despite widespread international opposition and because it suggests China is still unwilling to use its influence in a decisive manner, argues CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read More on »

An Enduring Challenge to the U.S. President

Successive U.S. presidents have tried and failed to corral Pyongyang. Until leaders in Beijing send Pyongyang a different message, North Korea is going to frustrate American presidents, argues CFR Director of Studies James M. Lindsay. Read More on The Water's Edge »

Getting Away With It

"Rules must be binding, violations must be punished, words must mean something," said President Barack Obama in his 2009 Prague speech. But North Korea's saber rattling today represents only the most recent episode in a long history of unpunished provocation, argues Dartmouth College assistant professor Jennifer Lind. Read More on Foreign »

Missile Threat: Who Will Be the Israel of East Asia?

The most effective response to North Korea's horizontal proliferation has been the October 2007 Israeli air strike on a Syrian nuclear reactor. Until there is an "Israeli option" that breaks the cycle of North Korean impunity for its destabilizing actions, expect North Korea to take advantage of neighboring countries' fears, says Scott A. Snyder. Read More on Asia Unbound »

Transition Dilemma in Pyongyang

The April North Korean "satellite" launch is tied to leadership transition. International legitimacy and domestic political consolidation are at the crux of the choice that is challenging leaders in Pyongyang. Read More on »

How to Stop North Korea’s Satellite Test

To avoid repeating the cycle of 2009, a policy path must be created that offers Pyongyang a face-saving way to abandon its routine without damaging internal legitimacy, argues Snyder. Read More on Asia Unbound »

2012 South Korean Parliamentary Elections

Window to South Korea's Political Future

The convergence of presidential and legislative elections in South Korea this year gives added significance to the general elections. The vote determined three hundred members of the national assembly and shaped the playing field for South Korea's presidential elections on December 19. The result of the legislative elections will influence Korea's future direction as well as the future of U.S.-South Korea relations, argues Catholic University of Korea professor Ma Sang-yoon. Read the Report »

CFR's Korea Program in the News

CNN Security Clearance Blog: "Reading the ruler and other signs from North Korea" (April 17, 2012)

Economist: "Obama's most improved bilateral alliance" (March 31, 2012)

Washington Post: "North Korea's launch leaves U.S. few options" (March 13, 2012)



The Program on U.S.-Korea Policy

The program on U.S.-Korea policy was established at the Council on Foreign Relations in September 2011. It aims to strengthen the U.S.-Korea relationship by providing relevant policy recommendations and promoting dialogue on sensitive bilateral, regional, and global issues facing the two countries. The program acknowledges the generous support it has received from the Smith Richardson Foundation, Korea Foundation, and South Korean private sponsors, including Hyundai Motors, Korea International Trade Association, and the Federation of Korean Industries. It also acknowledges with thanks additional support received from individual donor Sandor Hau.

Scott A. Snyder, Director
Follow @snydersas on Twitter

Darcie Draudt, Research Associate


Connect with CFR

cfr on facebook Facebook
cfr on twitter Twitter
cfr on youtube YouTube
cfr on youtube Mobile
cfr on youtube Join the conversation at»