1994 Redux: The Rebirth of North Korean leadership

In the December 20 issue of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Leon V. Sigal writes about Kim Jong-il's unexpected death this week, and how those who yearn for regime change are playing up the possibility of instability in the North and questioning his son's fitness to rule. 

Sigal, a Carnegie Corporation grantee and the author of Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, is the director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council. 

1994 Redux: The rebirth of North Korean leadership” discusses the third round of bilateral talks that was due to be announced this week. Washington, writes Sigal, would be wise to resume these talks as soon as possible, and test whether Kim Jong-un is in a position to follow in his father's footsteps. 

Sigal says that uncertainty about a North Korea under Kim Jong-un is endemic. The best way to reduce it is not to engage in idle speculation but to try diplomatic give-and-take.

Read the full article.