After the lofty promises of the Singapore summit in June 2018 between President Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, we are back at square one. Perhaps the situation is even worse, because today the US confronts a nuclear challenge greater than the one President Trump faced two years ago. The DPRK has more nuclear weapons, perhaps as many as 60 nuclear devices, as its ability to produce additional fissile material has been unchecked. Pyongyang has also improved its nuclear capable missiles through continued testing of short and intermediate range missiles. Viewed from Pyongyang, North Koreans also believe that their lot is no better despite the diplomatic campaign which resulted in three meetings with Trump, as well as four meetings with Chinese President Xi. US-led sanctions are all in place; DPRK remains politically and economically isolated from the rest of the world; malnutrition and hunger remain all too common throughout the country. So what now? Ambassador Joseph Yun will discuss four basic options for the US to deal with the DPRK nuclear weapons program: back to “fire and fury;” a “military option” to end the DPRK nuclear program; accepting a nuclear North Korea; “arms control” negotiations. Ambassador Yun will conclude by suggesting a path forward, which is to implement the key elements of denuclearisation and normalisation of relations as spelt out in the June 12, 2018 Singapore Joint Statement.
About the Speaker
Joseph Y. Yun, recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on relations with North Korea, as well as broader US-East Asia policy, most recently served as Special Representative for North Korea Policy. Currently, he is Senior Advisor with The Asia Group, a DC-based strategic consulting firm, and the U.S. Institute of Peace, an independent and non-partisan federal institute working on peace and reconciliation issues throughout the globe. He is also a Global Affairs Commentator for the CNN. Yun’s 33-year diplomatic career has been marked by his commitment to face-to-face engagement as the best avenue for resolving conflict and advancing cross-border cooperation. As Special Representative on North Korea from 2016 to 2018, Ambassador Yun led the U.S. efforts to align regional powers behind a united policy to denuclearize North Korea. He was instrumental in reopening the “New York channel,” a direct communication line with officials from Pyongyang. As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2011-2013), Yun led efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Myanmar. Yun also served as Ambassador to Malaysia (2013-16). Before joining the Foreign Service, Yun was a senior economist for Data Resources, Inc., in Lexington, Massachusetts. He holds a M. Phil. degree from the London School of Economics and a BS from the University of Wales.