Risking Re-Engagement

In this essay, Evans Revere, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues that “the United States should continue to give top priority to the ultimate and complete denuclearization of North Korea.” He adds: “At the same time, and in the short and medium term, it should pursue a package of interim steps that limits those elements of the North Korean program that create a current danger in Northeast Asia, as long as those steps bring us closer to the ultimate goal of complete denuclearization. Measures that merely sustain an empty diplomatic process should be rejected. To that end, Washington should create a dialogue process that maximizes prospects for achieving the denuclearization goal. This must include engaging the North Korean leader and his key advisers, who need to hear directly how denuclearization can help Pyongyang avoid further isolation, deindustrialization, and regime collapse.”

Revere concludes:

Such an approach will incur risks for the United States and, at the end of the day, it may not succeed, but the one we have taken in the past has clearly not worked. The goal of denuclearization is more important than ever as we contemplate Pyongyang’s growing missile and nuclear capabilities and the prospect that they will threaten the American homeland in the not-too-distant future. The sooner we negotiate a deal with North Korea that will result in its complete denuclearization, or conclude that a deal is not negotiable, the better off we will be. If a deal is made, all parties win. However, even if a deal proves impossible, the United States will have obtained important clarity about the North’s intentions, an essential ingredient if tougher measures towards the North become necessary.

Read the essay here.

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