North Korea: The Case for Engagement

North Korea: The Case for Engagement

BEIJING -- The sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan has lent further weight to the argument that Washington's current North Korea strategy is having little success in controlling the errant communist state. President Barack Obama's recent National Security Strategy was surprisingly vague on the issue, and the predictable U.S.-South Korean displays of naval strength in the aftermath of the sinking suggest no imminent policy reorientation from the White House.

This continued faith in a strategy that has shown no tangible results -- described by one analyst as the "definition of insanity" -- has been further challenged by recent indications that China's approach of economic engagement is increasing Beijing's leverage over the regime of Kim Jong-Il. The time has come for the U.S. to fundamentally rethink its North Korea policy, and the engagement model offers a clear alternative for the way forward.

Although China's policy of engagement is often portrayed by American observers as stonewalling diplomatic efforts on the peninsula, Beijing has in fact been advocating an alternative paradigm for reining in the DPRK. Since 2004, it has been attempting to increase bilateral trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), with the ultimate goal of inducing Chinese-style economic reform. The effort now seems to be yielding results.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review