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The Kim regime’s greatest vulnerability is from within, from the alienation of its own people who suffer under totalitarian repression. While insisting on complete and verifiable denuclearization, the foundation of U.S. strategy should be a human rights upfront approach, a comprehensive information and influence campaign, and the advancement of the strategic aim of a free and unified Korea.
Six Strategic Propositions
Flawed Premise of U.S. Policy
History of Negotiations
History of North Korea’s Nuclear Program
Promotion of Human Rights in North Korea
Challenges to Change
Annex A: Myths and Facts
Annex B: Promoting Human Rights in North Korea
National Strategy for Countering North Korea
Robert Joseph, the principal author, chaired the group of experts that developed the strategy outlined in this document. The other members of the group included Robert Collins, Joseph DeTrani, Nicholas Eberstadt, Olivia Enos, David Maxwell, and Greg Scarlatoiu. All members of the group provided inputs and share in its authorship. Brief biographies are at the end of the document.
Since the emergence of the nuclear threat from North Korea in the early 1990s, the primary objective of U.S. policy has been to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program. While successive administrations have adopted different combinations of incentives and disincentives to achieve this end, all have pursued denuclearization through diplomacy and negotiations as the signature component of their North Korea policy. All have failed. Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s Eve call for an “exponential increase” in the North’s nuclear arsenal only underscores the need for a fundamental shift in U.S. policy.
The North’s nuclear program has expanded from small-scale plutonium reprocessing, to enriched uranium, to six nuclear tests, to an estimated arsenal of 40-60 weapons and is rapidly growing. The expansion of its weapons stockpile has been accompanied by an equally aggressive expansion of its ballistic missile force, which now includes several generations of short, medium, and long-range missiles, including the ability to hold all American cities hostage to attack.