The New Year’s address is an important event in North Korea (DPRK) and often sets the tone for policy priorities for the year. In 2019, one of DPRK’s goals was peaceful relations with the US, so what happened?

The communications between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un after the Singapore meeting were so friendly (it was even called a bromance), one would believe the peace negotiation was a minor technicality.1⁠ Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. However, in reading through past New Year addresses (NYA), Chairman Kim provides some obvious guidelines from which negotiators could and still can take their cues.

It’s the address stupid!


First, it will be helpful to revisit the 2018 NYA. The 2018 address is notable because it marked a milestone in the DPRK nuclear program. Kim Jong-un declared the nuclear forces, “An outstanding success our Party, state and people won last year was the accomplishment of the great, historic cause of perfecting the national nuclear forces.”2⁠ This turned out not to be totally true. The nuclear program was not perfect, most likely because the re-entry capability of the Huawsong-15 remains in question.3⁠ Why then make the claim at all? What the chairman was doing here was four-fold. He was acknowledging the sacrifice the citizenry made for the last 30 years and showing them it was worth it. Second, he let the US know he felt the DPRK had enough nuclear weapons and delivery capabilities to effectively deter a US invasion. Third, it signaled a shift in DPRK’s priorities to focus on the economy. The fourth reason relates to the shift to the economy. It is possible that DPRK felt the effects of secondary sanctions (E.O. 13810) and China restricting trade since 2017.4⁠ Kim even acknowledges the sanctions hurt:

Last year, too, our people made strenuous efforts to defend the peace of the country and hasten national reunification in keeping with the aspirations and demands of the nation. However, owing to the vicious sanctions and pressure by the United States and its vassal forces and their desperate maneuvers to ignite a war, all aimed at checking the reinforcement of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent by our Republic, the situation on the Korean peninsula became aggravated as never before, and greater difficulties and obstacles were put on the road of the country’s reunification.”

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

It has also been suggested that DPRK has accumulated a massive fortune from which they could fund their military endeavors for years. So maybe they just didn’t like seeing their cash pile depleted.5⁠ Either way, in order to build up the economy Chairman Kim Jong-un, needed to remove sanctions. Therefore, the fourth intention was a gambit to spur the US back to the bargaining table and get sanctions removed/reduced; and if the “perfected” nuclear program didn’t get the US’s attention, then one would imagine Chairman Kim’s remark about the importance to “mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles…” should do it.

Throughout the address, Chairman Kim names several industries and describes in detail their importance to the economy and future of the nation. Some of which are listed below;

        • Munitions – includes conventional and nuclear weapons
        • Aerospace & Defense Industry
        • Chemicals (C1 for non-petroleum-based sources of fuel and fertilizers)
        • Light Manufacturing
        • Manufacturing (Machine building)
        • Coal & Mining (Inputs for C1, electricity generation, and limited export income)
        • Rail Transport
        • Agriculture & Farming
        • Irrigation
        • Iron and steel industries
        • Electricity is a major necessity. Kim even tells the people not to waste electricity, and even rationing it by industry.
        • Tourism (not under sanctions https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/04/Report-North-Korea-economy-developing-dramatically-despite-sanctions/3431575452381/)

Chairman Kim pays particular attention to the importance of resuming tourism between the two Koreas:

The improvement of inter-Korean relations is a pressing matter of concern not only to the authorities but to all other Koreans, and it is a crucial task to be carried out through a concerted effort by the entire nation. The north and the south should promote bilateral contact, travel, cooperation, and exchange on a broad scale to remove mutual misunderstanding and distrust and fulfill their responsibility and role as the motive force of national reunification.

We will open our doors to anyone from South Korea, including the ruling party and opposition parties, organizations, and individual personages of all backgrounds, for dialogue, contact, and travel, if they sincerely wish national concord and unity.

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

It’s understandable, China made up 90% of the tourism in 2018, so restarting tourism with South Korea (ROK) would bolster the coffers and further offset sanctions.6⁠ However, improving the economy and tourism especially may be a double-edged sword for DPRK. It results in opening the country to outside influence. There is further evidence to suggest that DPRK will have difficulty maintaining control as the economy improves.7 In fact, Kim has already had to restrict freedoms within the country by increasing the secret police activities (Korean People’s Internal Security Forces).

The Korean People’s Internal Security Forces should sharpen the edge of the sword of the class struggle and detect and frustrate the schemes by undesirable and hostile elements in time. The Worker-Peasant Red Guards and Young Red Guards should enhance their combat capability in all aspects through intensive combat and political training.

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

Despite the security issues, reunification with ROK was mentioned 12 times in the address and remains a priority for DPRK. It is ironic, of all the threats North Korea perceives against it, reunification is the one they don’t see. First, it may no longer be economically possible, neither the way Chairman Kim imagines it under a communist, authoritarian banner nor if ROK were to remain the controlling government.8⁠ Second, it is no longer reciprocated, especially among younger South Koreans.9⁠ The resulting unified country would either fall apart economically, tear itself apart socially, or both.

The 2018 address is notable also because it followed the “fire and fury” exchange between the North Korean leader and President Trump.10⁠ It is no surprise, therefore, that it contains some of that same fiery rhetoric as shown in this passage regarding the Seoul Olympic Games:

[ROK]…should respond positively to our sincere efforts for a détente, instead of inducing the exacerbation of the situation by joining the United States in its reckless moves for a north-targeted nuclear war that threatens the destiny of the entire nation as well as peace and stability on this land. They should discontinue all the nuclear war drills they stage with outside forces, as these drills will engulf this land in flames and lead to bloodshed on our sacred territory. They should also refrain from any acts of bringing in nuclear armaments and aggressive forces from the United States.

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

Taken together with statements below, DPRK is not looking to start a war but making it plain that it will defend itself.

And we should always be ready for an immediate nuclear counterattack to cope with the enemy’s maneuvers for a nuclear war.” Underscore is mine

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

the nuclear button is on my office desk all the time; the United States needs to be clearly aware that this is not merely a threat but a reality.”

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

The political and ideological might is the first and foremost strength of our state and the great propellant for opening up an avenue for building a powerful socialist country.”

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

As a responsible, peace-loving nuclear power, our country will neither have recourse to nuclear weapons unless hostile forces of aggression violate its sovereignty and interests nor threaten any other country or region by means of nuclear weapons. However, it will resolutely respond to acts of wrecking peace and security on the Korean peninsula.

(Source: https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/)

When President Trump met with Chairman Kim in Singapore, there were numerous incentives available with which to engage the North Korean leader. The 2018 address highlighted DPRK’s need for sanction relief, electricity-generation capabilities, food, trade, and tourism. Anyone of which could have been linked to a step in immobilizing DPRK’s nuclear program. Unfortunately, the Singapore agreement didn’t use any of them. Yet, it did have a positive effect on Chairman Kim and his desire for a better relationship with the US and ROK as shown in the 2019 address.

Peace and Hope in 2019

If the tone of the 2018 address was defensive and hostile, the 2019 NYA was hope, peace, and happiness, literally. The very first paragraph ends. “… We are seeing in the new year 2019 full of hope.”11⁠ The praise and good cheer then continue:

I extend heartfelt greetings to all the people and service personnel… My warm new year greetings go also to the compatriots in the south and abroad, who shared our will in writing a new history of reconciliation, unity, peace, and prosperity of the nation. I wish success in the work of heads of state and other foreign friends who are making efforts for social progress and development and global peace and justice.


It is interesting to note that Chairman Kim was happy for another reason. The meeting with President Trump in Singapore for the first time legitimized the DPRK as a country and the Great Leader couldn’t be more proud:

Thanks to our proactive and positive efforts, a peace-oriented current was created on the Korean peninsula and the international prestige of our Republic continued to be raised …

Through the celebratory events held in September, the might of the DPRK, which achieved the ideological oneness of the whole society and the single-hearted unity of the Party and the people and which possesses a reliable self-supporting economy and self-reliant defense capabilities, and the ardent will of the heroic Korean people to fight to the end for the victory of the socialist cause were fully demonstrated in front of the eyes of the world.


With the mood thoroughly set, it’s back to business. Chairman Kim again highlights the efforts of the coal and agricultural sectors indicating their importance and their need for support:

The working class in the coal-mining industry, in defense of the lifeline of the self-supporting economy, conducted a do-or-die campaign for production when everything was in difficulty, and the agricultural sector waged an unremitting struggle for increased cereal production, thus producing a large number of high-yielding units and farmers even in adverse weather conditions.


While it is not clear if it was meant to be temporary or not, the North Korean leader suggests the munitions industry has converted to a dual-use function:

The munitions industry, in hearty response to our Party’s militant call for concentrating all efforts on economic construction, produced a variety of farm machinery, construction equipment, cooperative products, and consumer goods, thereby giving an impetus to economic development and the improvement of the people’s living standards.


He then emphasizes the importance of the munitions industry to the economy in its new capacity. Chairman Kim is quoted as saying, it needs to “raise the national defense capacity… and on the other [hand] actively support economic construction.

The Great Leader once again underscores the need for more electricity, “One of the most important and pressing tasks in socialist economic construction for this year is to radically increase the production of electricity.” He goes on to name several of the same industries as last year for continued improvements with some additions:

        • Munitions
        • Coal (inputs for electricity and C1 chemicals)
        • Metallurgy & Chemical C1 – Kim calls them “the two pillars in economic construction”
        • Iron & Steel
        • Machine building
        • Rail & Transportation
        • Roads (infrastructure)
        • Agriculture
        • Fishing
        • Forestry
        • Construction
        • Urban management
        • Pharmaceuticals
        • Public Health and Standard of living (not industries but still opportunities for dialogue)

Similar to the 2018 address, Chairman Kim urges reconciliation and reunification with the South. He discusses the restart of the failed inter-Korean development projects at Kaesong and Mt. Kumgang, “For the present, we are willing to resume the Kaesong Industrial Park and Mt Kumgang tourism without any precondition and in return for nothing… .”

DPRK views the three agreements (The Panmunjom Declaration, the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration, and the north-south agreement) with ROK as “unprecedented in 70 years” and ushering in “an era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity by putting an end to the abnormal state on the Korean peninsula…” Buoyed by his optimism, he takes reconciliation and reunification further to suggest the removal of the armistice agreement:

Given that north and south committed themselves to advancing along the road of peace and prosperity, we maintain that the joint military exercises with foreign forces, which constitute the source of aggravating the situation on the Korean peninsula, should no longer be permitted and the introduction of war equipment including strategic assets from outside should completely be suspended.

It is also needed to actively promote multi-party negotiations for replacing the current ceasefire on the Korean peninsula with a peace mechanism in close contact with the signatories to the armistice agreement so as to lay a lasting and substantial peace-keeping foundation.


Chairman Kim blatantly wants the US out of the region so DPRK can be, as he puts it, the “master of peace on the peninsula.” While this should be a non-starter for the US, as it goes against US interests in the region, President Trump may have opened the door to it when he agreed to freeze joint military exercises with ROK during the Singapore summit.

However, the Great Leader also wants peace with the US and is willing to “advance towards complete denuclearization.” He even explicitly stated what he believes ‘complete denuclearization’ means for the DPRK. There is no language addressing complete, verifiable, and irreversible disarmament of all nuclear weapons (CVID);

It is the invariable stand of our Party and the government of our Republic and my firm will to establish a new bilateral relationship that meets the demand of the new era as clarified in the June 12 DPRK-US Joint Statement, build a lasting and durable peace regime and advance towards complete denuclearization.

Accordingly, we declared at home and abroad that we would neither make and test nuclear weapons any longer nor use and proliferate them, and we have taken various practical measures.


The North Korean leader here is more specific about his ‘denuclearization’ commitment than the 2018 Singapore agreement. In fact, one month after the Singapore summit, DPRK froze or at least pretended to, their nuclear program, dismantled a portion of the Sohae satellite launch station, and stopped testing missiles for the rest of 2018.12,13⁠ In return, the US agreed to freeze US-ROK joint military exercises.14⁠ The decision was an unwelcome surprise to President Moon Jae-in. Also, given DPRK’s history of not keeping its commitments, a healthy dose of skepticism was not unwarranted. By July of 2018, evidence emerged that in fact DPRK continued to create fissile materials and advance their nuclear technologies.15⁠ There was, however, a ‘bright side’ to this agreement. It proved that the DPRK was willing to put some definition of denuclearization up for negotiations. In the future, assuming a future summit and a more skilled negotiator materializes, this should be welcome guidance for a more productive outcome.

In return for ‘freezing’ their nuclear program and “various practical measures,” the Mastermind of the Revolution is unsubtle; he expects the removal of sanctions. This was something the US never actually agreed to given the vagueness of the agreement. Furthermore, the US would be unwilling to implement given its interpretation of denuclearization calls for CVID of all nuclear weapons prior to any sanction reduction. Consequently, the North Koreans believe the US has yet to keep its June 12th promise.16⁠ The North Korean leader even warns against reneging with:

But if the United States does not keep the promise it made in the eyes of the world, and out of miscalculation of our people’s patience, it attempts to unilaterally enforce something upon us and persists in imposing sanctions and pressure against our Republic, we may be compelled to find a new way for defending the sovereignty of the country and the supreme interests of the state and for achieving peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.


During 2019, several developments occurred. President Trump and Chairman Kim met in Hanoi (February 2019) for more negotiations, which collapsed. Two weeks later, there was a working-level meeting between top diplomats in Stockholm, which also collapsed. Finally, Kim and Trump met at Panmunjom (demilitarized zone) on June 30 but again were not productive. The failures can be attributed to several reasons; a lack of preparation on the part of the US, a lack of coordination with regional allies, and most importantly, a mismatched definition of what denuclearization means.17

It was widely reported that President Trump walked out of the Hanoi summit because Chairman Kim asked for “all” the sanctions to be removed. However, the AP confirmed that the DPRK was asking only for the UN sanctions from 2016 forward to be removed. This is still many billions of dollars worth of relief. But it should not have been a surprise given that DPRK had been asking for this for weeks ahead of the Hanoi meeting.18According to the AP, Kim was negotiating for “partial sanctions relief in exchange for shutting down the North’s main nuclear complex. …[Kim] was also ready to offer in writing a permanent halt of the country’s nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests.”18The “Art of the Deal” was not on display here. Chairman Kim was reported to be “puzzled,” not to mention embarrassed by the outcome.18 Consequently, in early May of 2019 Pyongyang conducted several short-range missile tests19⁠, the US then seized a DPRK tanker of coal20⁠; and by December of 2019, DPRK resumed testing at the ‘dismantled’ Sohae site and declared, denuclearization was off the negotiating table.21

Birthday Wishes Are Not Enough

The 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea (the plenum address) was held December 28 to 31 in 2019. This address substituted for Chairman Kim’s usual NYA. His speech, while definitely darker than previous speeches, still held the door open to negotiate an agreement if the US can capture the moment.22⁠ Given that it was President Trump who walked out of the Hanoi meeting and it is the US the DPRK sees as not holding up its end of the Singapore agreement, it falls to the US to engage DPRK. On January 10, President Trump wished Chairman Kim a ‘happy birthday’ via Seoul.23⁠ The North Korean leader was not impressed.24⁠ It would be more expedient to address several concerns in order to get DPRK back to the table. First, the US, and more specifically President Trump, has to prove a reliable and trustworthy negotiating partner. Unfortunately, it is something that becomes more difficult each time the US reneges on an agreement (Paris Accord, Iran Nuclear deal) or walks away from allies in the field (the Kurds in Syria).25,26 Furthermore, eroding the US reputation as a reliable partner gives away US negotiating leverage.27,28⁠ Second, the US should consider the interests of China and Russia. Neither country prioritizes denuclearization like the US. Furthermore, China will not back harsh sanctions for fear of a collapsed DPRK.29⁠ Russia will not back any sanctions against DPRK unless China compels them. And neither party is willing to punish North Korea for an extended amount of time.30⁠ Third, the US must be flexible in order to find a middle ground between CVID and Chairman Kim’s desire for “complete” sanctions removal.31⁠ Finally, any proposal must address DPRK’s underlying needs. On this last issue, past NYA’s offer guidance for a proposal. Chairman Kim’s quote from the plenum address is a succinct summary of the DPRK attitude, “It is true that we urgently need [an] external environment favorable for the economic construction but we can never sell our dignity which we have so far defended as valuable as our own life, in hope for brilliant transformation.”32⁠ Taken together with the elation expressed in the 2019 NYA after only one meeting with the United States, it becomes clear that DPRK wants to be a legitimate state with normal relations. Additionally, the NYAs offer insight into other attitudes and needs; nuclear armaments and delivery vehicles are viewed as necessary for regime survival. The Great Defender will never dissociate from them. Therefore, making any bargaining agreement contingent upon DPRK meeting CVID first will never succeed. However, the Great Leader has indicated on several occasions he is open to freezing the program. Other areas like infrastructure, food, public health, standard of living, electricity, and of course sanctions relief, especially affecting natural resource exports, and expansion of tourism are all opportunities for engagement.

As stated earlier, Chairman Kim offered a working definition of denuclearization. It is well known that ‘denuclearization’ is interpreted differently by each party. The DPRK interprets this to mean the US will leave the peninsula, remove military umbrella/defenses from the region, and stop joint-military exercises with ROK and Japan. In contrast, the US understands ‘denuclearization’ to mean complete, irreversible, and verifiable dismantling of their nuclear weapons (CVID) prior to removal of sanctions.

Why then would the US adhere so doggedly to a definition that continues to be an impasse?

Michael Fuchs and Abigail Bard argue that;

there are…political reasons for maintaining the denuclearization goal: Few elected leaders want to appear weak by allowing North Korea to keep its weapons, and the United States would be making a major concession by changing its goals without receiving anything in return.33

Fuchs and Bard may be correct about political fear. This may have been what led the US president to walk out of the negotiations in Hanoi. However, it is wrong to suggest that the US does not benefit by changing its definition of ‘denuclearization.’ First, political fear locks the US into a position that has not only failed for 30 years but amounts to inaction as the DPRK advances its nuclear program. The appearance of weakness then seems more associated with the inability to adapt to the reality of the situation-the US failed to prevent North Korea from becoming a nuclear state.34⁠ Second, if the US-brokered an agreement that keeps the DPRK nuclear weapons program frozen that progress alone would be a win for the US, the region, and the world. Moreover, by adhering to a strict interpretation of ‘denuclearization’ that leads to ever-increasing sanctions has unintended consequences. Previously I’ve written about sanctions having the opposite effect regarding behavior.35⁠ Strict sanctions have other unintended consequences. Doctors John Park and James Walsh argue that increased sanctions actually made it easier for DPRK to advance its nuclear program.36⁠ Park and Walsh found that as the sanctions increased, the amount of money and sophistication required to skirt them increased as well. Thus, only the “larger and more sophisticated partners were able to do it.”36

A new strategy for engaging with North Korea is long overdue. It will be difficult to persuade North Korea back to the negotiating table. It may take a change to the US definition of ‘denuclearization.’ One that more closely aligns with the DPRK’s definition-a ‘cap and keep’ goal. It may take an upfront financial incentive. Critics may argue this ‘gives away the store’ and removes US bargaining leverage. Their attitude ignores the underlying motivation of North Korea. The real bargaining leverage lies in the US legitimizing and normalizing its relationship with DPRK.37⁠ Additionally, there are enough sanctions, and DPRK has enough distressed industries to incrementally promote change without ‘giving away the store.’ Furthermore, the use of incremental ‘rewards’ as an impetus for change is more likely to succeed than ‘all or nothing’ punitive sanctions. As proof, just look to DPRK’s fully functioning nuclear program. The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison also offers the example of Iran where “past experience shows that coercive and punitive measures just make the Iranian government less cooperative and more determined to resist U.S. demands.”26⁠ Also consider, assuming North Korea accepted the current US proposal (i.e. CVID before any sanctions reductions) tomorrow, Dr. Siegfried Hecker of Stanford estimates it could take between 10 and 15 years to accomplish.38⁠ What motivation would DPRK have to dismantle, what it perceives to be, its only means of survival over such a long time frame? Additionally, what guarantee is there that at the end of the time period a new US administration will keep its word? Especially in light of the current administration’s record in that regard.

In Dr. Hecker’s view the conversion of military reactors to light-water reactors (for electricity only) were key to the plan. This not only corresponds to DPRK’s desperate need for more electricity but also addresses DPRK and US goals. Dr. Christopher Lawrence, a Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government goes further. His work revisits a 1994 US-led consortium that helped build just such an infrastructure project-converting military nuclear reactors to civilian light-water reactors. It was the only time in history the US made significant progress in rolling back the North’s nuclear program.39⁠ The success Dr. Lawrence argues is rooted in the idea that long-term international projects with high costs for both parties maintain commitments over long periods of time, builds trust between parties and builds a physical embodiment of the peace process.39⁠ While at the same time, the process creates a new paradigm for diplomacy between the parties.40⁠ Coincidentally, normalization of the relationship is inherent to international projects.40⁠ Simply stated in order to carry out a large-scale, long-term, technologically, and financially complex project accomplishes many of the outcomes asked for by each party. Using the reactor conversion example, the nature of the project requires a listing of the nuclear reactor sites, inspection by IAEA agents, incremental sanctions removal and normalized relations for coordinated international resources (labor, financing, temporary supports). Dr. Lawrence also points out that these type of long-term international projects, and the reactor-conversion project, in particular, make it incrementally harder to “cheat” the longer each party remains committed to the process.40

February is a common month for weapons testing from DPRK.41⁠ Additionally, if the US entanglement with Iran escalates, the US ability to respond could be diminished (financially as well as physically) and embolden Chairman Kim to provoke the situation. But it doesn’t have to go that far. The US can restart negotiations and accomplish many worthwhile goals; bring peace and stability to the Peninsula, reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation, and still maintain a strategic position in the area. In order to move forward, it will take strength to admit that the past strategy did not work and flexibility to adapt to the current reality.


1. “We fell in love:” Trump swoons over letters from North Korea’s Kim – Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-trump/we-fell-in-love-trump-swoons-over-letters-from-north-koreas-kim-idUSKCN1MA03Q. Accessed January 16, 2020.

2. Explore, DPRK. NYA 2018. https://exploredprk.com/news/new-year-address-2018/. Published 2018. Accessed November 1, 2020.

3. North Korea | Countries | NTI. https://www.nti.org/learn/countries/north-korea/delivery-systems/. Accessed January 16, 2020.

4. China limits oil trade to North Korea and bans textile trade – BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41370722. Accessed January 15, 2020.

5. UN’s North Korea sanctions are big win — but nuke threats won’t stop – Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/us-big-win-china-sanctions-un-north-korea-2017-8. Accessed January 16, 2020.

6. Zwirko C. North Korea seeking greater Chinese investment in tourism industry: Xinhua. NK News. https://www.nknews.org/2019/07/north-korea-seeking-greater-chinese-investment-in-tourism-industry-xinhua/. Published 2019. Accessed January 16, 2020.

7. Capitalism is undermining Kim Jong Un’s power in North Korea – Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/capitalism-north-korea-threat-to-kim-jong-un-2017-11. Accessed January 16, 2020.

8. Korean Reunification Is Already Unviable – The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2018/08/korean-reunification-is-already-unviable/. Accessed January 16, 2020.

9. “One Nation” Dream: Do Younger South Koreans Want Unification? | KOREA EXPOSÉ. https://www.koreaexpose.com/younger-south-koreans-still-want-unification/. Accessed January 11, 2020.

10. Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S. – The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/world/asia/north-korea-un-sanctions-nuclear-missile-united-nations.html. Accessed January 20, 2020.

11. NYA 2019.

12. North Korea launched no missiles in 2018. But that isn’t necessarily due to Trump. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/north-korea-launched-no-missiles-2018-isn-t-necessarily-due-n949971. Accessed January 18, 2020.

13. North Korea expands missile plant despite pledge to denuclearise at Trump-Kim summit | World | News | Express.co.uk. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/982457/North-Korea-denuclearisation-Trump-kim-summit-Hamhung-weapons-expansion. Accessed January 18, 2020.

14. North Korea dismantling Sohae missile site, in big win for Trump – Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-dismantles-sohae-missile-site-satellite-launch-vehicle-win-for-trump-2018-7. Accessed January 16, 2020.

15. FACT CHECK: U.S. And North Korea After Their Singapore Summit : NPR. https://www.npr.org/2018/07/31/634387644/fact-check-u-s-and-north-korea-after-their-singapore-summit. Accessed January 18, 2020.

16. North Korea says it has “been deceived by the US” | TheHill. https://thehill.com/policy/international/477812-north-korea-says-it-has-been-deceived-by-the-united-states. Accessed January 16, 2020.

17. Former Defense secretaries shed light on why Trump talks with North Korea failed. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/08/former-defense-secretaries-shed-light-on-why-trump-talks-with-north-korea-failed.html. Accessed January 18, 2020.

18. Officials say Trump overstated Kim’s demand on sanctions. https://apnews.com/85250b96c38b4a238139e753302d9742. Accessed January 15, 2020.

19. North Korea “test fires short-range missiles” – BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48158880. Accessed January 18, 2020.

20. US seizes North Korean coal ship for violating sanctions – BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-48221507. Accessed January 18, 2020.

21. Zachary Cohen. North Korea missiles: New satellite image shows activity at previously dismantled test site – CNNPolitics. https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/05/politics/north-korea-test-site-satellite-images/index.html. Accessed January 16, 2020.

22. The Glaring Omission in Kim Jong Un’s Plenary Speech. https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/the-glaring-omission-in-kim-jong-uns-plenary-speech/. Accessed January 11, 2020.

23. Kim Jong Un: South Korea says it sentTrump’s birthday message. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/01/10/kim-jong-un-south-korea-says-senttrumps-birthday-message/4429244002/. Accessed January 18, 2020.

24. Happy Birthday, Trump Tells Kim. Not Enough, North Korea Says. – The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/11/world/asia/trump-kim-jong-un-birthday.html. Accessed January 18, 2020.

25. Trump undermines North Korea talks with Iran nuclear deal pullout: experts. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/08/trump-undermines-north-korea-talks-with-iran-nuclear-deal-pullout-experts.html. Accessed January 19, 2020.

26. Trump Sends Pompeo on a Fool’s Errand | The American Conservative. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trump-sends-pompeo-on-a-fools-errand/. Accessed January 19, 2020.

27. Trump’s hard-line negotiation methods could be ruining US reputation – Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-negotiation-skills-north-korea-iran-expert-weighs-in-2018-5/. Accessed January 19, 2020.

28. Iran Deal Stunt Slams US Reputation: Questions Korean Talks – Analyst – Sputnik International. https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201805091064268390-usa-iran-jcpoa-withdrawal-reputation/. Accessed January 19, 2020.

29. U.S.-led pressure fractures as China, Russia push for North Korea sanctions relief – Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-un-china-analysis-idUSKBN1YL0OX. Accessed January 18, 2020.

30. North Korea says new U.N. sanctions an act of war – Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles/north-korea-says-new-u-n-sanctions-an-act-of-war-idUSKBN1EI03D. Accessed January 18, 2020.

31. China says concessions necessary to revive North Korea talks – Pars Today. https://parstoday.com/en/news/world-i114148-china_says_concessions_necessary_to_revive_north_korea_talks. Accessed January 16, 2020.

32. Report on 5th Plenary Meeting of 7th C.C., WPK | KCNA Watch. https://kcnawatch.org/newstream/1577829999-473709661/report-on-5th-plenary-meeting-of-7th-c-c-wpk/. Accessed January 19, 2020.

33. The Time Is Right for a Deal With North Korea – Center for American Progress. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/security/reports/2019/06/10/470868/time-right-deal-north-korea/. Accessed January 16, 2020.

34. What We Know About Trump’s DMZ Meeting With Kim Jong-un. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/06/what-we-know-about-trumps-dmz-meeting-with-kim-jong-un.html. Accessed January 18, 2020.

35. Ragozzino A. North Korea: Another Option Dec. 10, 2019 Adam Ragozzino On Saturday December 7.; 2019.

36. Stopping North Korea Inc_Park Walsh_FINAL.pdf. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_ph0c6i87C_eGhCOGRhUVFaU28/view?usp=drive_open&usp=embed_facebook. Accessed January 3, 2020.

37. What North Korea Really Wants: A Normalized Relationship With the United States – The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2018/04/what-north-korea-really-wants-a-normalized-relationship-with-the-united-states/. Accessed January 19, 2020.

38. {FSI} – Siegfried Hecker: “A major positive” if Kim Jong-un dismantles Yongbyon. https://fsi.stanford.edu/news/siefried-hecker-major-positive-if-kim-jong-un-dismantles-yongbyon. Accessed January 3, 2020.

39. Modern diplomacy on North Korea may be fundamentally wrong — but history points to a better way, Business Insider – Business Insider Malaysia. https://www.businessinsider.my/trump-and-kim-jong-uns-next-summit-could-take-place-at-mar-a-lago-2018-6/. Accessed January 18, 2020.

40. Lawrence C. Normalization by Other Means : The Techno-diplomacy of Commitment in the North Korean Nuclear Crisis. Int Secur. 2020;45:1(Summer 2020):1-37.

41. Panda A. Top Risks in Asia in Early 2020. APAC Risk Update. https://diplomat.substack.com/. Published 2020. Accessed January 16, 2020.

By Adam Ragozzino

Adam Ragozzino is a Boston-based analyst who has worked as a research and policy analyst in the US. Currently, he is an independent consultant and runs Acies Lumen, LLC, a fledgling geopolitical research firm. He writes about international affairs and conflict with a particular focus on Africa. When not chained to a desk or under lockdown, you can find him riding or skiing in the northeast US.

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