On Monday, April 23, NTI launched its new seminar series with a presentation from Siegfried Hecker and Robert Carlin of Stanford University on the history of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear program. Hecker started the discussion with a thorough overview of the evolution of the North Korean program from its inception to present day, highlighting inflection points in the relationship between the U.S. and DPRK across a spectrum of issues.
Hecker and Carlin discussed the opportunity—and challenge—presented by the upcoming talks on DPRK denuclearization. Noting that that not all weapons, missile tests, plutonium inventory and other elements of their program could be eliminated at once, that priority should be given to the most critical risks first.
Hecker and Carlin also discussed the evolution of North Korea’s priorities, which have shifted from achieving a nuclear deterrent to the pursuit of economic strength. This will be critical for negotiators to bear in mind, as this public shift in position will allow DPRK leadership more flexibility at the negotiating table to make potential concessions to achieve economic goals.
Read more about this seminar in this Atomic Pulse article.