It is often argued that the North Korean regime, if faced with the right combination of pressure and concessions, will surrender its nuclear program. This article is critical of this viewpoint. Pyongyang’s decision to go nuclear reflects long-term strategic concerns, and no amount of aid and payments will compensate for the loss of strategic advantages created by the possession of a nuclear capability. At the same time, the outside world does not have sufficiently powerful leverage at its disposal as well. Hence, a prolonged stalemate should be expected.
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