There’s a dark purpose in Kim Jong Un’s proffered moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile testing announced over the weekend. Kim, with the apparent complicity of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, seeks to eventually merge his state into the South  – and drive out U.S. troops from the peninsula. Most ...

On Saturday, North Korea announced it was suspending nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing, ahead of this week’s summit with South Korea and ahead of a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in June. Cipher Brief expert Amb. Joseph DeTrani, former envoy to the Six Party Talks, gave his ...

Bottom Line: While much attention is rightfully given to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal, the country’s naval and merchant fleets are the ones that have traditionally extended the reach of Pyongyang to bypass sanctions through illicit trade on the high seas while also ...

Cipher Brief experts debated the risk versus blowback of striking North Korea before it has a chance to strike the continental United States, at The Cipher Brief’s 2018 annual Threat Conference, in Sea Island, Ga. Admiral (ret.) James “Sandy” Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during ...

"What South Koreans want is an unconditional withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South, an unwelcome guest that poses a threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.” -14 March 2018, Rodong Sinmun, North Korea Newspaper After decades of effort, North Korea is close to being able to credibly ...

Public reactions to prospects for a breakthrough at a Trump-Kim summit are proving a triumph of hope over experience. North Korea has been feeling the heat from the Trump administration’s effective “maximum pressure” campaign, and has every incentive to gut its momentum, or reverse it. In response, Kim Jong Un ...

President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un and the other players, China and North Korea, are preparing. The question is: How should Trump prepare for the meeting? Experts find a number of reasons to be skeptical about this abrupt announcement, especially the lack of lower-level preparation ...

Amb. Joseph DeTrani, Cipher Brief expert and former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with North Korea, shared his thoughts on the surprise trip by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit the Chinese premier, adapted for print below. The March 26-27 visit of North Korean leader Kim ...

During two years of intense negotiations with North Korea, from August 2003 to September 2005, North Korea’s constant refrain to U.S. negotiators was, ‘Accept us as a nuclear weapons state and we’ll be a good friend of the U.S.’ They were told that the U.S. would never accept North Korea ...

Bottom Line: Behind the curtain of violent conflict often resides a potentially devastating, long-term issue that demands global attention: food insecurity as both a weapon and consequence of war. Militant groups recruit the hungry with promises of the next meal, and states such as North Korea and Syria control food ...

With the prospect of Donald Trump holding a summit with Kim Jong Un in the near future, it’s worth looking back at the history of American negotiations with North Korea over the past 25 years. The conventional wisdom says that whenever any agreement has been reached, North Korea has cheated. ...

The key to understanding the remarkable developments over North Korea in recent weeks is that the two Koreas have been working jointly to manage the perceived risks from the United States and China. This cooperation has been managed on intelligence channels often employing relationships forged during the Sunshine Policy over ...

On Thursday, South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong announced that President Donald Trump had accepted an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the meeting will take place “by May” at a time and place to be determined. This development could be referred to as a ...

North Korea’s weekend offer of peace talks over dinner with the first South Korean delegation there in more than a decade seems to be a sincere attempt to open dialogue. It follows other moves like sending his sister Kim Yo-jong to the Olympics and issuing a summit invitation to South ...

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics closed on Sunday, but the games may have opened the door for dialogue between the United States and North Korea. Following a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean representatives, the South Korean government announced that North Korea was willing to have talks ...

Bottom Line: While the Trump administration has recently pressured South Korea on trade practices, the two nations remain united on pushing North Korea toward denuclearization, despite Pyongyang’s attempts to drive a wedge between the two. It is unlikely that their financial disagreements will disrupt that united front, but the money ...

Bottom Line: While North Korea has put on a friendly face during the Olympic Games taking place along its southern border, the country’s hackers continue to engage in global cybercrime campaigns that seek to fill the coffers of the ruling regime in the background – with the latest hacking campaign ...

North Korea’s Olympic delegation has left Pyeongchang, and stuck South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a decision: whether to accept an invitation to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. It would be the first time a South Korean president has visited the North Korean capital city since ...

The signs emerging from Washington confirm that the military option is still very much on the table. There is now a breathing space while the Winter Olympics play out at Pyeongchang in South Korea followed by the Paralympics which conclude on 18th March. Shortly thereafter, the annual joint military exercises ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo revealed Tuesday that North Korea is still “months” away from being able to fire nuclear weapons reliably at the United States, in remarks to the American Enterprise Institute. Earlier this week, the told CBS News North Korea is a “handful of months" away, and last fall ...

“Talk today.” That’s the substance of recent advice Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been giving to President Donald Trump about North Korea. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton takes a different tack. The essence of his message is “strike now.” Both camps are far too impatient. “Absolutely and ...

“We have to deal with North Korea as it is, not as we wish it to be.” Does President Trump understand those words? They were spoken less than two months ago by former Defense Secretary William Perry, who twice conducted negotiations with the North Koreans nearly 20 years ago. A new ...

Bottom Line: Since 2016, the North Korean regime has shown its hand as a state sponsor of cybercrime by targeting international financial institutions, engaging in broad ransomware campaigns, and illegally accruing and laundering cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. This pattern of behavior supports Pyongyang’s objective of self-financing the ruling Korean Worker’s ...

North Korea made clear its aim to divide the U.S. from its South Korean ally when the North and South negotiators met this week: “All our weapons, including atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs and ballistic missile are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, nor China and Russia,” said ...

Bottom Line: North and South Korean Olympians may be marching together come February after Tuesday’s breakthrough talks – the first between the two sides in two years – but North Korea’s staunch refusal to discuss its nuclear weapons program means a likely return to nuclear impasse after the Olympic games ...

North and Sound Korea have held their first high-level meeting in two years – agreeing to send North Korean athletes to the upcoming Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeonchang -- and to reopen a military hotline. It’s a welcome warming to the nuclear chill on the Korean Peninsula, ...

Cipher Brief expert Gordon Chang says the U.S. has leverage over China that it isn’t using to defuse the challenge from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Cipher Brief’s Brian Garrett-Glaser interviewed Chang as Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump trade threats of pressing a nuclear “button,” even amid ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to predict what they see for the year ahead. CIA veteran and Asia hand Amb. Joseph DeTrani spoke about what Beijing could do to check the rising threat from North Korea, including implementing U.N. sanctions that Pyongyang has called an ...

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, intervention in eastern Ukraine, and meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election have escalated distrust and rancor between the U.S. and Russia to levels unprecedented since the Cold War. For two decades, President Vladimir Putin has driven a resurgent Russia to assert its interests globally, often ...

Conflicting signals about whether the U.S. is prepared to resume talks with North Korea raise questions about what conditions, if any, might be imposed and even how unified the administration of President Donald Trump really is on undertaking this kind of initiative. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested during remarks ...

This has been an unprecedented year for nuclear proliferation in East Asia, namely in North Korea. If not halted quickly, it’s very possible the region will inadvertently stumble into nuclear conflict, with unimaginable casualties. So far, in 2017 North Korea has launched at least 20 missiles – the latest on ...

North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday, another step towards its goal of becoming a nuclear power in the world - prompting an ominous warning from the U.S. commander in chief. “We will take care of it,” President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday, after being briefed by the ...

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. government has designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in a move that will trigger additional economic sanctions against the rogue nation. This is the second time that North Korea has been listed as a state sponsor of ...

While most American news outlets last week focused on sexual harassment, tax reform and President Donald Trump’s red-carpet trip to the Far East, the Pentagon and some in Congress were dealing with North Korea and other serious national security issues. Use of Force Against North Korea The question of whether ...

The shadow of President Donald Trump’s comments in August forewarning that the United States would meet any threat from North Korea with “fire and fury” loomed over a Senate hearing Tuesday on the sole authority of the president to launch America’s nuclear arsenal. “We are concerned that the President of ...

“Trust” is not a word I would normally associate with what President Donald Trump says publicly, particularly in answering a question at a press conference. “Subtlety” is also not a normal characteristic of this American president when discussing difficult diplomatic problems such as dealing with North Korea. But I am ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe both used Trump’s visit to Japan to bolster confidence in the U.S.-Japan alliance as the “cornerstone” of regional peace and security. Focus on the North Korean threat, as well as shared interests in the face of Chinese expansionism, allowed the ...

Most discussions about the North Korea nuclear threat focus on the risk of conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. Serious as that is, an even more important issue is what the crisis will mean for the U.S. and China – the world’s most consequential relationship. Great risk and great ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned North Korea may be only months away from being able to launch a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. “They are closer now than they were five years ago. And I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today, ...

Japan has the means, motive, and opportunity to produce nuclear weapons. However, as a matter of long-standing policy, Tokyo has kept its options open, as long as it can rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The perception is widespread that, due to its history as the only country upon which ...

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un conducted its sixth underground nuclear test early this September – which Pyongyang claims as its first test of a hydrogen bomb – and in late August and again, two weeks later, the hermit kingdom launched a ballistic missile directly over the territory of ...

On October 10, as North Korea celebrates the creation of the ruling Worker's Party, the United States and regional allies will brace themselves for the possibility of yet another provocative missile test. With multiple missile launches this year, and even the test of a hydrogen nuclear bomb, Pyongyang is pushing ...

President Donald Trump has called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suicidal, but the CIA’s top Asia analysts said Wednesday that he’s a “rational actor” bent on survival. “Waking up one morning and deciding he wants to nuke” Los Angeles is not something Kim Jong-un is likely to do, said Yong ...

Rex Tillerson could be the worst of the 69 secretaries of state in the history of the republic, but he did not deserve the drubbing he took Sunday from his boss. Moreover, Washington’s efforts to disarm North Korea were not served by the public humiliation of America’s chief diplomat over ...

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford set out his views on key national security issues last Tuesday during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s confirmation hearing for his second, two-year term in that position. Remember, as you read this, Dunford is by law the principal military advisor to President Donald Trump, ...

President Donald Trump called negotiations with North Korea a waste of time Sunday morning, directly contradicting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement only one day prior. “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man…” Trump tweeted. ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to China this weekend for the second time since taking office in February, where he will meet with his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other Chinese leaders. The trip’s intended purpose is to prepare for President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing ...

Saturday’s Pentagon announcement that B-1B bombers escorted by F-15C fighters had flown a route above the demilitarized zone in international airspace over the Sea of Japan east of North Korea, brought back memories to those of us who lived through the aftermaths of the 1964 Tonkin Gulf  “raid,” the USS ...

China and North Korea were no doubt as surprised as anyone by Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory. They had probably anticipated that a new Clinton Administration, like the Obama Administration before it, would be anesthetized by Chinese diplomacy and continue the policy of “strategic patience”—really, strategic neglect – that had ...

President Donald Trump announced new sanctions on North Korea on Thursday at the United Nations, measures intended to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. The new executive order will target companies that do business with North Korea, which has conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests this summer, alarming world ...