Open Forum

The Korean Peninsula is in a state of deep, growing insecurity. To the north, the Kim regime continues to launch ballistic missiles into the East Sea and prepare for what many expect will be further nuclear tests. Alarming too is the regime’s continued purge of the disgruntled elite, which signals heightened internal instability. The use of VX nerve agent in Kim Jung-nam’s assassination hints at the North’s often overshadowed stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, which—combined with Kim Jong-un’s recklessness—pose a uniquely daunting threat to the region and beyond.1 To the south, the leadership vacuum and government disarray have left the country ill-equipped to respond to the latest rounds of the North’s provocations.2 Uncertainties in the Trump administration’s commitment to the South and souring relations with Japan over the “comfort women” issue add to Seoul’s growing list of concerns.

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