Engagement with North Korea

A Portfolio-Based Approach to Diplomacy

by Rafiq Dossani

Download

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.9 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback88 pages $21.00 $16.80 20% Web Discount

Research Questions

  1. Do opportunities for conflict resolution and consensus-building between North Korea and the United States still exist in the current political atmosphere?
  2. Where did past agreements between the United States and North Korea fail, and how can future agreements address those failures?

Following the failure of recent efforts by the United States to engage North Korea in denuclearization negotiations, the author proposed and tested an approach to negotiations, called the portfolio method, that addresses the reasons for past failures in an effort to develop action plans that will successfully engage all sides. The elements of the portfolio method are (1) the inclusion of countries with national interests that overlap those of the United States and North Korea, (2) prior agreement on the goals of negotiation between the negotiating parties, (3) the inclusion of primarily hard commitments in agreements, (4) the incorporation of the preferences of in-country stakeholders, (5) the linking of multiple areas of negotiation, and (6) trust-building mechanisms.

To test the portfolio method, the author assembled a team of experts, who went through the steps for portfolio creation with actual cases using the portfolio method and provided a review. The author used the method of Track II dialogue to assemble experts who are nonstate actors with differing national interests to investigate how breakdowns in negotiations can be addressed.

The action plans were first reviewed for the support they would receive from in-country stakeholders. Second, experts discussed combinations of action plans that would meet the negotiation goals. Using this discussion, experts proposed three portfolios with different levels of risk, trade-offs, and ongoing commitments. Third, the expert panel identified the roles that stakeholder countries could play with regard to ensuring that the agreements succeed.

Key Findings

  • In his assessment of past failures, the author identified three principal reasons for failure that would need to be addressed in future negotiations: (1) disagreements on the goals of negotiations, (2) inadequate domestic and international support (both state and nonstate), and (3) the failure to use trust-building mechanisms.
  • The expert panel resulted in the recommendation of three portfolios, each containing diplomatic, economic, and security components. The expert panel also recommended roles that each stakeholder country (the United States, China, North Korea, and South Korea) would play in the implementation of the agreement.
  • The expert dialogue was generally supportive of the portfolio method and its key elements because it made explicit the condition that official negotiations on action plans must be based on a pre-agreed framework of goals and other elements. The experts also welcomed the insights that considering trade-offs brought to the analysis, such as recognizing a country's bargaining power.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Approach

  • Chapter Three

    Application of the Logic Model

  • Chapter Four

    Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    Screening of Action Plans

  • Appendix B

    Measuring Consensus Among In-Country Stakeholders

  • Appendix C

    Glossary

This research was sponsored by the Korea Foundation and conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.