Security in northeast Asia: structuring a settlement
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Citation (published version)Joshua Shifrinson. 2019. "Security in Northeast Asia: Structuring a Settlement." Strategic Studies quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp. 23 - 47.
A potential pathway exists for a Northeast Asian settlement where the Koreas, the United States, China, and Japan can each live within the status quo. Sustaining a settlement will require reining in foreign policy hawks reluctant to allow the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to retain a nuclear arsenal. The United States will also need to engage allies fearful of conflict with North Korea but also disinclined to let a neighboring state enjoy a local nuclear monopoly. The United States should continue outreach to North Korea with the objective of establishing a process that links sanctions relief and security guarantees to a plan for eventual denuclearization. The future China-DPRK relationship must be considered and isolated from the US-China relationship— notably, economic tensions and disputes in the South and East China Seas. It should facilitate Chinese leverage over North Korea and encourage China to reinforce its economic and security ties with North Korea to influence and restrain Pyongyang’s decision making. The Trump administration must earn the support of stakeholders across the policy-making and procedural spectrum and facilitate a domestic political consensus in favor of the emerging settlement. Securing a settlement in Northeast Asia may be a productive way of reducing one of the most troublesome spots in US foreign relations.1
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