Special Forum

The Korean Peninsula is at a possible inflection point at the beginning of 2018, defined by the growing nuclear capabilities of North Korea on one hand and the outreach of the North Korean leadership to South Korea on the other. In January 2018 US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo declared North Korea only “a handful of months” from being able to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon.1 Yet only a few weeks later, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un, watched as a combined Korean Olympic team marched in opening ceremonies at Pyeongchang.2 In defining national security policy in these changing circumstances, South Korean leaders thus confront both danger and opportunity. Much will depend on how the they assess the North’s intentions. Is diplomatic outreach just a means to drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States? What are the ultimate objectives of North Korea’s nuclear policy?

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