As one of the world’s most isolated nations, North Korea remains a conundrum to Western observers, in many ways – as does its leader, Kim Jong-un. But given the country’s growing arms capabilities, misreading North Korea’s actions or misunderstanding Kim himself could lead to dire consequences. In a paper written for the Brookings Institution, North Korea expert and former CIA analyst Jung H. Pak explains why any engagement or de-escalation strategy for the Korean Peninsula must rest on a solid comprehension of Kim Jong-un’s background and evolving aspirations.
In this summary, you will learn
- What priorities drive Kim Jong-un’s policy decisions,
- What domestic and international pressures Kim’s regime faces, and
- Why Kim will not give up North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
About the Author
Jung H. Pak is a senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at the Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies.
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