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A Way Out of the North Korean Labyrinth
Published March 22, 2018
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The sudden announcement of a North Korea-U.S. summit in March 2018 upended all previous diplomacy concerning North Korea’s nuclear program. In return for a bilateral presidential summit, Pyongyang has agreed to suspend testing of its nuclear and missile programs and accepted the continuation of scheduled U.S.-South Korea exercises as planned. While this unexpected development reduces tensions and opens up a political path to a solution on the Korean Peninsula, it also imparts increased urgency for a well-conceived U.S. diplomatic strategy so that the summit and any ensuing negotiations lead to positive outcomes for Washington and Seoul and the other interested parties, thus ensuring its sustainability. In this context, the author advances an assessment of the current situation and a proposal for a U.S. program that could reduce military tensions in and around Korea, lead to the stabilization of a new and legitimate equilibrium in Northeast Asia, and advance shared American, South Korean, and Japanese objectives.

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