North Korea Missile Announcement Undermines Diplomatic Outreach

North Korea has a proclivity for taking provocative actions precisely when Washington and its allies have begun diplomatic attempts at engagement. Secret negotiations in March 2010 to prepare for resuming the Six-Party Talks were undermined by Pyongyang’s attack on a South Korean naval vessel later that month. Secret inter-Korean talks in November 2010, including South Korean offers of food aid, did not prevent North Korea from shelling a South Korean island weeks later. While a combination of punitive measures and diplomacy may provide a path for achieving North Korean denuclearization, Pyongyang’s repeated violations, attacks, and abhorrent behavior have destroyed attempts at engagement. Washington and its allies must therefore take all necessary measures to guard against nuclear, missile, and conventional force attacks by North Korea.

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