The United States and North Korea are once again locked in a diplomatic standoff over denuclearization and the normalization of U.S.-North Korean relations. This has brought the promising start North and South Korea have made on building peace and security on the Korean Peninsula to a halt.
As South Korea pursues engagement with North Korea, thinking about unification through a stabilization framework can provide critical clues on navigating major challenges that unification might bring.
Integrating the two Koreas will be an arduous process. How the unification process evolves depends on the success of stabilization—which cuts across responses in political, military, social, and economic domains.
Significant progress has been made on this track over the past year, but the process is on life support and badly needs an industrial-scale shot of adrenaline. Bilateral relations between North and South Korea have undergone a rapid and positive transformation.
Trilateral defense coordination offers Japan, South Korea, and the United States an important avenue to advance their mutual interests and support peace and security in the Asia Pacific.
Whether Pyongyang has the capacity and the resources for large-scale demobilization and reintegration—and is prepared to implement market reforms that would be required to make the most efficient use of these resources—remains an open question.
In the event a peace and security regime for the Korean Peninsula leads to North Korean agreement to reduce its conventional weapons and equipment, Kim may want to convert portions of the North’s defense industries to production of civilian goods.
The stakes for South Korean President Moon Jae-in could not have been higher when U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Hanoi in February 2019. The delicate relationship between Trump and Moon provides important context for their upcoming meeting on Thursday, April 11.
America’s dealmaker-in-chief should shed his illusions of a grand bargain with Kim Jong Un and embrace the art of the possible. For clues, President Trump should look at the experience of the Iran nuclear agreement.
Shortly after the success of The Art of the Deal (1987) made Donald Trump a supposed expert on negotiation, he lobbied the George H.W. Bush administration to put him in charge of arms reduction talks with the Soviet Union.