Few places on earth remain as mysterious and forbidding as North Korea. Even for the best trained spies, the truth about North Korean capabilities and intentions often remains elusive. More troubling, few countries pose as great a threat to American interests as North Korea, the center of a vast enterprise of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. The regime stockpiles nuclear weapons material and shares nuclear technology with other rogue actors. Pyongyang brazenly threatens its neighbors, while Kim Jong-un – the 31-year-old dictator and son of the late Kim Jong-il – purges challengers to his authority and publicly executes those who seek access to greater freedoms.
What do we know about the North Korean threat? What would it take to lift the shroud of secrecy that looms over the Hermit Kingdom?
On December 17, 2013 KEI hosted a panel of speakers to discuss the prospects for the year ahead, the threats posed by North Korea, potential options for encouraging Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, and China’s role in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. With the December 2013 execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, much of the discussion focused on North Korea as well as its relationships with: China, United States and South Korea.
With the Korean National Assembly elections only days away, many questions arise on the impact the results will have on the Republic of Korea, the upcoming Presidential election and US-ROK relations.