North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

New Study on DPRK Engagement

In an interview on CNN after Kim Jong-il granted clemency to wayward US journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, Mike Chinoy, a former CNN Asia reporter who had actually met Kim Il-sung and visited DPRK several times, said that the US approach was meeting the definition of insanity, “as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results.”  The good folks at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies have published some excellent literature that one can only hope reaches the right audience.  Former State Department policy hand, Joel Wit, has edited and led a riveting new study US Strategy Towards North Korea: Rebuilding Dialogue and Engagement:

A U.S. policy based on containment and isolation alone only concedes that North Korea will remain nuclear-armed and that its weapons programs will further develop. That, in turn, will undermine stability in East Asia, sow doubts in Tokyo and Seoul about relying too much on the United States for their security and jeopardize cooperation with China. A nuclear North will also undermine Wash­ington’s global disarmament and non-proliferation agenda, particularly when viewed in conjunction with the danger of a nuclear Iran. The threat may become even more direct to U.S. security if the North perfects a long-range missile delivery system or exports fissile material or nuclear technology.

An effective American strategy towards North Korea will require a combination of tough measures with serious dialogue and engagement. “U.S. Strategy Towards North Korea: Rebuilding Dialogue and Engagement,” a new report by Joel S. Wit, discusses current developments in North Korea and, in that context, lays out a realistic set of U.S. objectives and recommendations for dealing with Pyongyang through dialogue and engagement. While that plan focuses on the United States, it should be noted that consultation and cooperation with key allies as well as with China, Russia and the international community will be central to its implementation.

This report is a joint U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS and Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University publication.

Get your copy of Wit’s report (in PDF format) through US-Korea Institute @SAIS  here.


This article was written on 10 Oct 2009, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, DPRK-US Relations, Six Party Talks.

An affiliate of 38 North