North Korea threatened last week to abandon diplomacy with the United States and resume nuclear and missile testing. Pyongyang’s actions are consistent with its hostile rhetoric; recent reports indicate the regime continues to build up its nuclear and missile infrastructure. If the Trump administration wants to maximize the prospects for serious nuclear negotiations, it will have to escalate pressure on the economic, diplomatic, and military fronts, to remind Kim Jong Un that North Korea will remain a pariah state unless he makes a strategic choice to give up his nuclear program.
Mathew Ha is a research associate focused on North Korea at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, where he also contributes to FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP). Follow Mat on Twitter @MatJunsuk. FDD is a Washington-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy. Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD and @FDD_CMPP.