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How to Deal With North Korea
James T. Laney is President Emeritus of Emory University and Co-Chairman of an independent task force on "Managing Change on the Korean Peninsula," sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea from 1993 to 1997. Jason T. Shaplen was Policy Adviser at the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) from 1995 to 1999 and is a member of the task force.See more by James T. LaneySee more by Jason T. Shaplen
Progress in reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula, never easy, has reached a dangerous impasse. The last six months have witnessed an extraordinary series of events in the region that have profound implications for security and stability throughout Northeast Asia, a region that is home to 100,000 U.S. troops and three of the world's 12 largest economies.
Perhaps the most dramatic of these events was North Korea's December decision to restart its frozen plutonium-based nuclear program at Yongbyon -- including a reprocessing facility that separates plutonium for nuclear weapons from spent reactor fuel. Just as disturbing was the North's stunning public admission two months earlier that it had begun building a new, highly-enriched-uranium (HEU) nuclear program. And then came yet another unsettling development: a growing, sharp division emerged between the United States and the new South Korean government over how to respond.