This report examines the possible outcomes of the North Korean threat to withdraw from the NPT and outlines alternative approaches for accomplishing U.S. security objectives affected by this situation. The report evaluates four approaches — constructive engagement, grand deal, pressure, and graduated incentives — in terms of whether the approaches help accomplish U.S. security objectives, whether they can be implemented given the other regional players involved, and whether they are robust given the fluidity of the situation in Korea. The report concludes that an approach that combines graduated incentives with pressure if the first approach fails is the most effective approach for meeting all three criteria. Specifically, the graduated incentives approach could accomplish all the U.S. security objectives, while the pressure approach could accomplish the major ones; in terms of implementation, graduated incentives is supported now and would lay the groundwork for regional support for pressure by demonstrating the United States has “gone the extra mile”; and in terms of robustness, graduated incentives would be effective if the North Korean “price” is low enough, while pressure could be effective regardless of North Korean motivation and would be consistent with a policy of counterproliferation.
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U.S. Security Objectives