Contributor Perspectives

North Korea's Kim Jong Un Finds Himself in a Bind of His Own Making

Artyom Lukin
Board of Contributors
Jan 31, 2020 | 10:45 GMT
North Koreans rally in support of the Workers' Party at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Jan. 5, 2020.

North Koreans rally in support of the Workers' Party at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on Jan. 5. Kim Jong Un's high-stakes nuclear gamble has not resulted in a deal with the United States and has only increased North Korea's dependence on China.

(KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images)

There is a long-standing, somewhat cliched view in the community of North Korea experts that Pyongyang always holds the strategic initiative when dealing with the United States. While it may well have been the case in the past, North Korea may no longer have much freedom of action. Pyongyang finds itself in an unenviable position facing a stark and narrow choice: Start real denuclearization as demanded by the United States and lose much, or even all, of its hard-won nuclear and missile potential, or cling to the nukes and accept its rising dependence on China, with existential risks for North Korea's sovereignty....

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