The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent developments tied to North Korea’s nuclear programme and assess future scenarios for East Asian security. Following the 6 January nuclear test, Pyongyang proved it had reinforced its nuclear arsenal, making its next moves highly unpredictable. Given the failure of past UN Security Council resolutions to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue, the basic premise of this analysis is that only a reinstatement of the Six Party Talks would allow for an effective non-proliferation regime in the country and in turn support a gradual restoration of regional security to the area. Among the root causes of past failures, the inability of the Six Parties to speak with one voice on the issue of normalisation of relations with DPRK has been important. Recent developments and heightened threat perceptions have now created a different situation, one needing a different strategy. This should be able to combine the influence of the group itself with single bilateral talks among its members, pursuing a progressive package of incentives to denuclearise North Korea instead of simply resorting to sanction the regime.
1. Brief history of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions
2. A world full of actors
3. A new security plan for the Korean peninsula