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DPRK: game, reset and match?

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The security situation in the Korean Peninsula has markedly deteriorated over the past few months. North Korea’s regular missile launches, development of ICBM capabilities, and persistent threat of new nuclear tests show the need for a rethink about how to deal with the Kim Jong-un regime. Muscular approaches including sanctions, military exercises in the Korean Peninsula, and the threat of surgical strikes on North Korea have not worked so far.

Applying further pressure on Pyongyang might even backfire, since it plays to the Kim regime’s narrative that it needs to strengthen its nuclear and missile deterrence capabilities. Indeed, Kim Jong-un has significantly increased the frequency of WMD tests compared to his father Kim Jong-il. This signals that he will not cave in under a new round of sanctions or further US bomber flights over the Korean Peninsula.