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New Thinking on Diplomacy Toward North Korea

The fundamental question about the purpose of diplomacy regarding North Korea has come into stark focus. For a time Park Geun-hye seemed to be redoubling her efforts to find a diplomatic path forward to the “taebuk,” which some translate as “jackpot” of reunification. These were accompanied by her “peace and security initiative,” proposed to diplomatic partners as a blueprint. However much it needed to be jointly clarified, for diplomacy in Northeast Asia. Meanwhile, the U.S. position toward North Korea and, notably China, hardened. Its diplomacy over two decades toward North Korea was, arguably, directed mostly at China, but now doubts had increased that the limited cooperation realized in managing North Korea warranted efforts to find common ground with China on maritime disputes and on other tense questions, where U.S. allies and partners pressed for a more vigorous response. Meanwhile, attention continued to center on how Chinese thinking about diplomacy toward the North Korean challenge is evolving. While in the midst of the Ukraine crisis Russia is less willing to cooperate with the United States on North Korea and Japan has again put a spotlight on the abductions issue by resuming talks with North Korea after it allowed a meeting of Yokota Megumi’s parents with a granddaughter, whom they had never seen, the center of interest in diplomacy remains fixed on the Sino-Seoul-Washington triangle. Any genuine new diplomacy would require joint agreement among two or more of these countries that the time was ripe to proceed.

This section includes the following chapters:

Introduction by Editor-in-Chief Gilbert Rozman

South Korea's Search for a New Diplomatic Strategy Toward North Korea: Trustpolitik as a Goldilocks Approach?
Shin-wha Lee, Korea University

What to Do about North Korea
Mark Fitzpatrick, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Purge of Jang Song-Taek and its Impact on China’s Policy Toward North Korea
Zhu Feng, Peking University & Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

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