How to Deal with North Korea: Lessons from the Iran Agreement - APLN Policy Brief

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The current and oft repeated pattern of responses to North Korean nuclear and missile provocations has failed to produce results. With the stakes becoming increasingly high it is time that a new approach is explored. The success to date of the deal to cap Iran’s nuclear program offers clues to a different approach with North Korea. North Korea’s position now is stronger than ever before – it has more bargaining chips. Converse-ly the threats posed by North Korea have never been greater. A negotiated settlement is the only acceptable outcome. The key will be to have a broad enough agenda for negotiations to ensure all parties see benefit: addressing the nuclear and missile issues, economic issues (removal of sanctions) and security issues (a Korean peace treaty to replace the armistice). The alternatives to negotiations are war or another nuclear weapon state with a de facto nuclear deterrent capability. Neither prospect will make any na-tion in the region more secure.

Sverre Lodgaard is Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). 

Leon V. Sigal is Director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in New York.

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December 13, 2016
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The Asia-Pacific Leadership Network offers a new approach to negotiating with North Korea.