The conversation kicked off with a discussion of how the breakdown in talks likely signals internal debate in North Korea about the desirability of denuclearization as well as growing North Korean impatience with South Korea’s inaction vis-a-vis inter-Korean economic projects. Staff inquired as to whether China can be pressured to exert greater influence over North Korea, what role sanctions might play going forward, and how to interpret increased domestic debate in South Korea and Japan around developing indigenous nuclear capabilities. The discussion also touched on the role of Russia in the region, North Korea’s cyber capabilities and intent, and the need for contingency planning if relations between the United States and North Korea sour in the months ahead. This discussion was supported by Joel Wit, Senior Fellow and Director of 38 North at the Stimson Center, Jenny Town, Fellow and Managing Editor of 38 North, and Vann Van Diepen, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State.
Prospects for North Korean Denuclearization post-Stockholm
In light of growing tensions between the United States and DPRK, Stimson organized a discussion with House staffers on the prospects for North Korean denuclearization after the collapse of talks in Stockholm.