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US rhetoric outstrips North Korea policy options

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Significance

The Trump administration has been keen to distinguish its nascent policy towards Pyongyang from that of former President Barack Obama. US officials have stated that Pyongyang should not “test” Trump, that he is willing to use force and that Washington will not adhere to a status quo posture on the Korean peninsula.

Impacts

  • There is nearly no precedent of states giving up nuclear weapons without dramatic internal and international political shifts.
  • A nuclear North Korea proliferating weapons technology and equipment will remain a central concern for both Washington and Beijing.
  • North Korea probably has a credible enough deterrent already to ward off an Iraq- or Libya-style external intervention.

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