North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its high rate of ballistic missile testing have propelled the “hermit kingdom” to the top of America’s foreign policy priorities. Denuclearization of North Korea has been a U.S. foreign policy goal for years. To achieve this goal, the Trump administration has opted for a pressure campaign that relies heavily on economic sanctions and displays of military might to force Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons program. This pressure has not produced any noticeable change in Kim’s calculus or behavior. Moreover, two successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in July give North Korea the capability to hold U.S. cities at risk with nuclear weapons.
What are the implications of North Korea’s recent gains in nuclear and missile capabilities for the future of U.S. strategy toward North Korea? What is the state of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies? What are the prospects of diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang? Should the United States pursue a different strategy toward North Korea in light of Pyongyang’s improving nuclear capabilities, perhaps including revising its alliance with South Korea? The Cato Institute will host two panels and a keynote address by former governor Bill Richardson to examine these critical questions.
Confirmed speakers include Bill Richardson, former Governor of New Mexico and North Korea negotiator; Joe Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund; Suzanne DiMaggio, Senior Fellow at New America and Director of a U.S.–North Korea dialogue; Eric Gomez, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute; Joshua Pollack, Editor of The Nonproliferation Review and Senior Research Associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies; Michael Auslin, Williams-Griffis Fellow in Contemporary Asia, Hoover Institution; Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; John Glaser, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Ted Galen Carpenter, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute; and Rajan Menon, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Chair in Political Science, City College of New York.