North Korea is hurting: its economy is stagnant and it is having trouble feeding even its elites because of the UN/U.S. sanctions designed to pressure North Korean toward denuclearization. A combined carrot and stick approach may help overcome some of North Korea's reluctance to negotiate the future of its nuclear weapons program.
Aug 17, 2020 The National Interest
It's difficult to get reliable information about North Korea's leadership. This is especially true of Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong. Nonetheless, Washington should strive to learn as much as possible about someone who could become the leader of a nuclear-armed North Korea.
Jul 6, 2020 The Hill
The end of the Korean War and peace on the peninsula are no more likely to occur as the result of a peace agreement than has North Korean denuclearization occurred as the result of multiple denuclearization agreements. Ultimately, North Korean objectives matter, and real peace does not appear to be part of those objectives.
Jun 29, 2020 The National Interest
Kim Jong-un's reappearance raises questions about the course of U.S.–North Korea relationships in the coming year. What should we expect? What can we learn from the past?
May 8, 2020 The National Interest
According to Pyongyang, North Korea has not yet suffered any cases of COVID-19. That would be surprising, since it is a neighbor and extensive trading partner of China. There are signs that this claim is yet another North Korean deception.
Apr 2, 2020 The National Interest
Why did Kim Jong-un substitute releasing the North Korean Workers' Party Plenary report instead of his traditional New Year's address? As with many things in North Korea, we do not know, forcing us to speculate.
Jan 3, 2020 The National Interest
North Korea's extreme rhetoric is worrying people in Northeast Asia. Pyongyang is threatening a presumably violent “Christmas gift” to the United States at the same time that Washington's patience with Pyongyang has worn thin.
Dec 24, 2019 CGTN
The meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the DMZ may lead to follow-on talks. But the success of future negotiations depends on Kim actually taking action to denuclearize.
Jul 2, 2019 The Hill
If Kim Jong-un is sincere about denuclearization, it is time for him to match his words with actions. If North Korea's nuclearization continues, the U.S. government may eventually face some pressure to take military action to stop it.
Mar 13, 2019 The National Interest
It's difficult to predict the outcome of the second summit between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump. At the first, Kim offered to fully denuclearize during President Trump's first term. But he continued building nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. If Kim keeps stalling, serious tensions could follow.
Feb 6, 2019 The National Interest
In early 2018, Kim Jong Un signaled that he was ready to negotiate abandoning North Korea's nuclear weapons with the United States. But since then, Pyongyang hasn't taken steps to denuclearize. The DPRK's actions speak louder than its words.
Nov 26, 2018 NK News
While North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suggested he may be prepared to abandon his nuclear ambitions, there has been no proof that he is serious. The United States could take steps to discover Kim's true intentions.
Nov 26, 2018 The National Interest
Kim Jong Un has regularly promised to denuclearize, but he's been all talk. And this year, North Korea has probably built five to nine more nuclear weapons. There are steps that could make a difference if taken before the North Korean nuclear weapon threat grows any further.
Oct 11, 2018 Newsweek
North Korea says that nuclear weapons are essential to regime survival. The United States should figure out how to persuade the North Korean regime that it is less likely to survive by posing a nuclear threat than by cooperating with the international community.
Sep 8, 2017 The Ripon Forum
Camp Humphreys will become the major U.S. base in Korea. In terms of North Korean threats, the camp is roughly 100 kilometers from the Demilitarized Zone. Some North Korean ballistic missiles could cause damage at Camp Humphreys if it's targeted.
Aug 8, 2017 The Korea Times
As the threat from North Korea has been developing over the last 30 years, the U.S. has responsibly deployed missile defenses in Korea to protect its forces and South Koreans. Today, North Korea's medium- and intermediate-range missiles require a defense able to handle higher missile re-entry speeds like the THAAD system.
Aug 7, 2017 The Korea Times
North Korea's July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit American soil has renewed talk of military intervention. But an effective limited military strike with minimal collateral damage and no escalation simply won't work.
Jul 14, 2017 Fox News Channel
President Moon Jae-in is focused on South Korean domestic issues and internal unification. But he needs to prepare for unification with North Korea. He will face challenges whether unification is brought on by peaceful coexistence or as the result of sudden change.
Jun 2, 2017 Newsweek
Among President Trump's options, proposing a deal that gives the North Korean elite an alternative to its murderous and unstable leader could be the safest and most realistic way to sheath North Korean nuclear weapons and safeguard the American people.
Apr 10, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
Pyongyang launched a ballistic missile on February 12 — one day before Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was murdered in Malaysia — and four more on March 6. What would lead North Korea to carry out these provocations?
Mar 24, 2017 RealClearWorld
Details about the murder of Kim Jong Un's half-brother are still being uncovered. If a firm connection to North Korea can be made, others in the region should react strongly. Otherwise, Kim may conclude that further provocations are worth it.
Mar 7, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
Whether successful or not, an ICBM test by North Korea would be very much against U.S. interests and President-elect Trump should act to counter it as early as possible. A turn to the basics of deterrence would be the path most likely to succeed.
Jan 6, 2017 USA Today
China has been a major proponent of regional security for Northeast Asia but appears disinterested in Republic of Korea (ROK) security against North Korean missile and nuclear weapon threats.
Sep 23, 2016 The Korea Times
North Korea's fifth and biggest nuclear test could have implications for U.S. policy toward the North, China's role in the region, and the stability of the Kim regime.
Sep 9, 2016 BBC
By insisting on a peace treaty with America, North Korea is probably seeking war. Its leaders likely hope a treaty would lead to a withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea, setting the stage for an invasion by the North.
May 18, 2016 The National Interest
It is hard to determine how China or Russia will respond to THAAD deployment in South Korea. THAAD deployment could change the dynamic and terms of the debate, leading to greater Chinese pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and missile threats.
Apr 5, 2016 The Cipher Brief
Kim Jong-un is probably seeking clear successes before his important Seventh Party Congress in May, when he wants to appear to be the all-powerful leader of North Korea.
Feb 8, 2016 BBC
Kim Jong Un has claimed that North Korea has an H-bomb. Whether this claim is accurate, or an exaggeration, remains to be seen. But it does highlight how the country's leadership culture requires Kim to periodically demonstrate his power.
Dec 16, 2015 CNN
While the latest confrontation between North and South Korea appears to be ending peacefully, it provides insight into future North Korean provocations. Words as weapons can work when they are aimed at North Korea's internal politics and backed up by a strong South Korean response supported by the U.S.
Aug 28, 2015 U.S. News & World Report
What might it mean if the U.S. deploys the terminal high-altitude air defense missile system known as THAAD in South Korea? Chinese pressure on South Korea to not allow THAAD deployment has become a major regional security issue.
Apr 3, 2015 The RAND Blog
Is North Korea really sincere about wanting to negotiate improved relations with South Korea and the United States? Or is it seeking to undermine the strength and sovereignty of its neighbor, just as Germany did before World War II?
Feb 3, 2015 The Korea Herald
Evidence points to North Korean involvement in the Sony hack. But it's impossible to know if top regime leaders sanctioned the attack or if it was carried out by another part of the government without their knowledge and consent. An unauthorized hack would only add to Kim Jong-un's worry over his regime's instability.
Dec 23, 2014 Newsweek
North Korea has tried pressuring Sony Pictures, the White House, and the UN to halt the release of a film that depicts Kim Jong-un in terms Kim would not want the world and especially his elites to see. After failing to stop the film diplomatically, North Korea may have been motivated to escalate its efforts.
Dec 11, 2014 Newsweek
The failure of the United States and South Korea to prevent North Korea from gaining significant quantities of weapons of mass destruction saddles those governments with serious military responsibilities, should North Korea go to war or should its government collapse.
Nov 19, 2014 The Korea Herald
Currently, three U.S. citizens are being detained in North Korea. It is likely that North Korea wants someone like a former U.S. president to come to North Korea instead of U.S. Ambassador Bob King, whose visits were cancelled.
Sep 18, 2014 The RAND Blog
With its collective self-defense policy, Japan assumes its responsibilities to support the defense of South Korea and regional security in general, an appropriate action given the economic and other independencies of the regional countries.
Jul 7, 2014 The Wall Street Journal
Whatever form of chest thumping comes next from Kim, it is clear that his goal is to put forward the appearance of strength and power, when in reality he faces instability at home and scorn from the international community.
Apr 8, 2014 The RAND Blog
The United States, South Korea and their allies would be well advised to factor in the possibility that North Korea could collapse in a fit of revolt and economic decay at any time, just as East Germany did, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jun 3, 2013 The Korea Herald
The U.S.-South Korean Extended Deterrence Policy Committee was setup to deter North Korean threats. The upcoming summit should ratify the progress of this effort, reassuring both the Korean and U.S. people that these threats are being managed.
May 7, 2013 The Korea Herald
The ROK and the United States should take actions to deter subsequent North Korean provocations while punishing the country for its nuclear weapon test. Such actions could convince it that the ROK/U.S. are serious and able to impose high costs, writes Bruce Bennett.
Feb 15, 2013 The RAND Blog
Kim Jong-Un's regime has placed outsized import on its missile launches—despite the risk of alienating the international community—to offset the lack of success across a wide range of topics, writes Bruce Bennett.
Dec 21, 2012 The RAND Blog
While many observers of North Korea have been surprised by the apparently peaceful ascension of Kim Jong-Un, there are reasons to believe that the situation in the North is not so stable, writes Bruce Bennett.
Dec 12, 2012 U.S. News & World Report
Every possible effort toward peaceful resolution and proliferation avoidance, even to the extent of offering safe passage and immunity to reprehensible characters in order to buy the safe transfer and control of such materials, is worth consideration, write James T. Quinlivan and Bruce W. Bennett.
Jul 26, 2012 The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org
It is notable that North Korea's Politburo made the Ri announcement, suggesting a rise in power of the party relative to the military. The choice of Ri's successor is also curious, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jul 17, 2012 The RAND Blog and GlobalSecurity.org
War games are especially important as countries prepare to counter adversaries who use asymmetric strategies or weapons, forcing military planners to deal with unfamiliar threats, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jun 12, 2012 World Policy Blog
With his father's support over the last year, Kim Jong-Un has tried to rapidly reshape the North Korean leadership structure, giving him many new subordinates who are untried and lacking experience. Some will clearly make mistakes, writes Bruce Bennett.
Dec 21, 2011 The RAND Blog
Clearly, it's time for a new strategy, one that North Korea has been loathe to discuss: hasten Korean unification under South Korea's leadership, writes Bruce Bennett.
Nov 23, 2010 The Korea Herald
North Korea's apparent sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan marks a new low in the North's provocative behavior. While some would prefer to respond with carrots rather than sticks, it is time to take action that imposes political costs on Kim Jong-il, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jun 30, 2010 Global Asia, A Journal of the East Asia Foundation
In recent years, U.S. commanders of the ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command have been unanimous in stating that CFC could defeat a North Korean invasion. Nevertheless, they have also expressed concern about the catastrophic damage that North Korea could do to the ROK before losing, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jan 21, 2010 The Korea Herald
For months, North Korea has been trying to upstage the summit between South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and U.S. President Barack Obama that is scheduled for June 16. Almost all Americans I know have heard of these North Korean provocations. But few have heard anything about the U.S.-ROK summit, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jun 15, 2009 The Korea Herald
North Korea's latest misbehavior highlights an uncomfortable truth: the failure of the United States and the international community to deter North Korean actions. In this case, it is pretty easy to see why North Korea has not been deterred, writes Bruce Bennett.
Jun 2, 2009 Chicago Tribune
North Korea spent weeks preparing to launch a ballistic missile that could reach the United States. It argued that the launch was intended to put a satellite into orbit. But a space launch vehicle is a ballistic missile used for a modestly different purpose, writes Bruce W. Bennett.
Apr 9, 2009 The Korea Herald
The new Korean government should fully recognize the North Korean military threats and respond by fielding military counters against dangerous North Korean military capabilities, writes Bruce Bennett.
Mar 13, 2008 The Korea Herald
Published commentary by RAND staff: Changes From Command Transfer, in Korea Times.
Dec 6, 2006 Korea Times
Published commentary by RAND staff: N Korea Policy Options, in United Press International.
Nov 28, 2006 United Press International
Published commentary by RAND staff: What's to Stop Kim Now?, in International Herald Tribune.
Oct 17, 2006 International Herald Tribune
Published commentary by RAND staff: On the Edge, in the Washington Times.
Oct 15, 2006 Washington Times
Is it time for Operation Korean Freedom? The regime change in Iraq has prompted some to urge regime change in the other two members of the President George W. Bush's "axis of evil," North Korea and Iran.
Jan 31, 2004 International Herald Tribune
While the mop-up of the war in Iraq dominates the news today, North Korea remains an unresolved crisis that could mean nuclear war for the United States.
Apr 13, 2003 Orange County Register
Published commentary by RAND staff.
Mar 7, 2003 United Press International
Every option the United States faces in resolving our nuclear dispute with North Korea is a horrible choice -- but some are more horrible than others, writes Bruce Bennett in an commentary.
Jan 14, 2003 San Diego Union-Tribune
While the level of mistrust between the U.S. and North Korea is too high for very close cooperation now, North Korea has apparently offered to provide terrorist-related information to Washington. The U.S. should pursue such discussions.
Dec 2, 2001 Los Angeles Times