The U.S.-North Korea Summit: Resources from CFR and Foreign Affairs

A highly anticipated meeting between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to take place in Singapore on June 12. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs offer analysis and resources on the challenges and opportunities of the U.S.-North Korea summit. 

June 8, 2018 1:05 pm (EST)

News Releases

Korea Summitry: Avoiding Catastrophic Failure and Catastrophic Success

"The central question is whether the Trump administration is prepared to rethink U.S. policy toward North Korea and pursue strategies that could stabilize the situation rather than solve it. That outcome is less than ideal, but good policies are not just desirable; they must also be doable," writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in Foreign Affairs

Why Singapore Is the Right Place for the Trump-Kim Summit

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"Among the possible contenders mentioned for the summit between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un—Sweden, the Korean DMZ, Mongolia, Switzerland, as well as much more unlikely possibilities like North Korea itself—Singapore was probably the right choice for the event, and ultimately not such a surprising one," writes CFR’s Joshua Kurlantizick.

A Denuclearization Process Must Be Part of the Talks

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"For a summit to have historic value, it must be accompanied by the identification of shared goals of denuclearization and peace, clearly defined, staged and sequenced, and a feasible means by which to achieve that objective," writes CFR's Scott A. Snyder

Can Japan and South Korea Handle Peace With Pyongyang?

"The rapid pace of North Korean diplomacy makes it crucial that Japan and South Korea coordinate more closely on potential changes to Northeast Asian security. But they must first overcome some deep-rooted grievances," writes CFR's Sheila A. Smith.

The Right Way to Coerce North Korea: Ending the Threat Without Going to War

"Trump's pursuit of a diplomatic solution has the best chance of success if it is bolstered by a strategy that ramps up the regional and international pressure on North Korea," write Victor Cha and Katrin Fraser Katz in the May/June 2018 issue of Foreign Affairs. 

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Obstacles to Success if Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Meet

"Talks could go nowhere if Washington and Pyongyang have wildly different end goals for the negotiations. While the United States may be willing to sign a peace agreement that says it will not harm the Kim regime and will normalize relations in exchange for North Korea’s denuclearization, Pyongyang may be seeking something altogether different," writes CFR's Patricia M. Kim.  

The United States, China, and North Korea

"A U.S.-North Korean summit that averted a crisis that would benefit neither the U.S. nor China would remind people in both countries of the value of Sino-American cooperation," writes CFR's president Richard N. Haass.

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"If China, the United States, and U.S. allies can work together to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and mitigate its threatening military posture," a CFR Independent Task Force report on North Korea contends, "a stable, prosperous Northeast Asia led by China and U.S. allies can emerge."

While Beijing appears willing to condemn Pyongyang’s nuclear developments, analysts say its cautious policies remain focused on stability. This CFR Backgrounder looks at the China-North Korea relationship. 

North Korea Is Growing and Modernizing Its Military

North Korea has embarked on an accelerated buildup of weapons of mass destruction and modernization of its already large conventional force. This CFR Backgrounder looks at North Korea’s military capabilities.

A Real Path to Peace on the Korean Peninsula

"Moon and Kim did not just make high-level commitments—they also took concrete steps that will have immediate effects in facilitating cooperation and preventing conflict. That offers hope that a comprehensive peace deal including real denuclearization by North Korea is achievable in a couple of years, if not in the months ahead," Chung-in Moon, Special Advisor to President Moon Jae-in for Unification and National Security Affairs, writes in Foreign Affairs.

Is a Deal With North Korea Really Possible?

The "mismatch between U.S. and North Korean goals has remained more or less consistent over the decades and has so far stymied all agreements that have emerged between the two sides since the first round of bilateral denuclearization negotiations in the early 1990s," writes former U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun in Foreign Affairs.

Whether the Kim-Trump Summit in Singapore Succeeds or Fails, North Korean Cyberattacks Likely to Continue

"Lurking in the shadows of the DPRK’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles is another program that threatens U.S. interests and international stability: North Korea’s cyber capacities," writes CFR's Adam Segal.

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