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The National Committee on North Korea

Accounting for American POW/MIAs from the Korean War

October 9, 2015

In conjunction with its recent Capitol Hill event on efforts to account for Korean War POW/MIAs, NCNK has revised and updated its Issue Brief on Korean War POW/MIA Accounting Efforts. This brief reviews past and current efforts regarding the over 7,800 Korean War service members who remain unaccounted for, including the repatriation of remains from North Korea, obstacles to their identification in the U.S., and U.S. efforts with China and Russia to gain access to archival information.

NCNK has also revised its Briefing Book on POW/MIA accounting, which contains a variety of primary sources such as U.S. government reports and North Korean statements on the issue.


Revised NCNK Issue Brief on North Korea's Nuclear Program

September 30, 2015

Despite years of international condemnation, diplomacy, and pressure, North Korea has succeeded in developing a relatively small nuclear arsenal, one which is poised for further gradual expansion in terms of both size and sophistication in the future. This updated Issue Brief reviews what is known about North Korea's plutonium and highly-enriched uranium programs, as well as its efforts to weaponize the fissile material it has acquired. It also looks at North Korea's emerging nuclear posture and strategy, and the global proliferation risks its nuclear program may pose.

The full Issue Brief is available here.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani on Reviving the Six Party Talks

September 22, 2015

Writing in the Washington Times, Amb. Joseph DeTrani argues that, on the 10th anniversary of the September 19th Joint Statement, it is time for the Six Party Talks to be revived. He argues that recent conciliatory dialogue between North and South Korea may facilitate an opening, and that "the same energy that the P-5 plus 1 expended on Iran in securing a nuclear agreement should be a model for the five countries working with North Korea to ensure that nuclear negotiations are resumed unconditionally." He argues that, if new negotiations prove futile, it will necessitate a reappraisal of the current approach toward North Korea. However, he points out that the assumption that the situation can improve in the absence of interaction with Pyongyang is unrealistic.

For the whole article, click here.

Duyeon Kim on the Inter-Korean Deal

August 31, 2015

 In a Q&A for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Duyeon Kim gives a detailed background on the "8.25 Agreement" between the two Koreas, discussing the landmine incident that triggered recent tensions, the effectiveness of South Korea's loudspeaker campaign, the tenor of the negotiations, and the implications of the joint communique. She argues that the agreement "not only de-escalated tensions but also provided a face-saving opportunity for both leaders to claim victory at home," while noting that Pyongyang was unsuccessful in its attempt to drive a wedge between South Korean conservatives and progressives. While Kim says that the next steps moving forward from the agreement are uncertain, the incident "reinforces the view that while the North’s Kim family needs to sustain tension for domestic legitimacy, it is not willing to risk inadvertent conflict."

For the full article, click here.

An Overview of North Korea's Missile Program

August 27, 2015

NCNK has revised and updated its Issue Brief on North Korea's Ballistic Missile Program. The report examines the history and current status of North Korea's ballistic missile program, including a review of bilateral U.S.-DPRK missile negotiations, international responses to North Korea's missile tests, and recent developments in North Korea's missile arsenal. It also includes an overview of the major missiles in North Korea's arsenal.

The Issue Brief is available here.

NCNK Releases Conference Report on "Theories of Change in North Korea"

August 26, 2015

In September 2014, the National Committee on North Korea and the U.S. Institute of Peace convened a one-day workshop that used a “theories of change” framework for discussing actions by government and nongovernmental actors seeking to influence North Korea, with a focus on security issues. The workshop brought together 22 experts on North Korea policy, many of whom had engaged in diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, to identify and examine the assumptions behind different strategies. 

This report, based on the findings of that workshop, aims to identify some of the strengths and weaknesses behind different U.S. policy approaches to North Korea, and to develop a framework identifying the assumptions and rationales behind these approaches. 

The report is available here.

Who We Are

The National Committee is a non-partisan coalition of individuals with extensive and complementary knowledge of and direct experience related to the society, economy, government, and history of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

We are a diverse group. A number of members served as diplomats in some of the landmark U.S.-DPRK negotiations. Some have authored major books on the history, society, and security of the Korean Peninsula. Other members have worked in virtually all parts of North Korea, and on issues related to the country's current economic, humanitarian, refugee, and medical crises. Some of our experience reaches back to the era of the Korean War. Most have extensive contacts in the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, and Russia related to the Korean Peninsula. While the National Committee on North Korea is non-governmental, several of the members have worked in official positions and have ongoing ties with current or past administrations and with the United States Congress.

The idea to form a National Committee on North Korea originated during The Musgrove III Conference held in mid-May 2004, which was attended by many of the founding committee members. The first meeting was held on November 4, 2004.