Sanctions are clearly not deterring North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. But alternative strategies have huge risks, too.
While there is still risk associated with any escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula, this is far from uncharted territory.
A recent barrage of nuclear-capable missile tests and a change in law setting out the conditions for a nuclear strike show that North Korea’s leader is intent on reunification on his terms.
Kim Jong Un has followed his father and grandfather in ruling by fear. The coronavirus pandemic has made North Korea ever more isolated, while expanded military capabilities make it a growing threat.
The increasing prominence of Kim Jong-un’s younger sister has prompted speculation about whether she is positioning herself for ultimate power in North Korea.
Diplomacy is needed to head off an arms race between North and South Korea.
North Korea’s test of two new missile systems have stoked fears of a nuclear confrontation in Asia. But the North Korean leader may not be as unstable as he is made out.
Kim Jong-un’s border closures appear to have blocked the spread of COVID-19 in North Korea, but they have also caused a food crisis threatening the survival of his people.
Donald Trump avoided a major crisis with North Korea. But the North Korean nuclear issue remains unresolved as the country continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic capabilities.
What might be the global geopolitical significance of Trump’s positive COVID-19 test?
With signs North Korea has suffered in the coronavirus pandemic and is now facing a further threat to its shaky economy, the ratcheted up of tension with the South is ominous.
Despite its proximity to China and South Korea, North Korea says it has no cases of COVID-19.
By matching narratives from North Korean escapees with Google Earth images, a fuller picture is emerging of abuses in North Korea.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have very different objectives from their on-again, off-again negotiations. More work needs to be done to build trust and align the leaders on a basic common goal.
Every time North Korea needles the US with another provocation, it makes it harder for Donald Trump to mobilise the domestic support for a return to the negotiating table.
Without its communist Soviet-style economy, North Korea would just be South Korea.
North Korea and the US have again failed to reach an agreement – and South Korea is being left on the sidelines.
Any meaningful breakthrough in the relationship between the US and North Korea is once again stalled by the insistence on denuclearisation.
Research shows the news media often reproduce metaphors that frame North Korea as dangerous, provocative, irrational, secretive, impoverished and totalitarian.
Any meaningful way forward must be based on imagination and mutual understanding.