Living with the Unthinkable

A nuclear North Korea is inevitable. Coexist and contain.

Issue: Winter 2003-2004

There is a pervasive desire in the United States and throughout East
Asia to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear-armed power, for
the prospect of Kim Jong-il's bizarre and unpredictable regime having
such a capability is profoundly disturbing. Two factions have emerged
in the United States about how to deal with the crisis, and they
embrace sharply different strategies. Yet they share an important
underlying assumption: that North Korea is using its nuclear program
merely as a negotiating ploy, and that Pyongyang can eventually be
induced to give up that program.

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