Thinking the Unthinkable: War on the Korean Peninsula

Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC

March 13, 2018, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

The possibility of a U.S. military strike against North Korea to prevent Pyongyang from acquiring the capability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon has stimulated debates about North Korea’s intentions. Is Kim Jong-un’s primary goal deterrence against U.S. invasion? Or does he have a much more offensive agenda, such as the unification of the Korean Peninsula through the use of force? Analysis of North Korea’s intentions has profound implications for what policy responses are required to thwart the regime’s ambitions and get ahead of its tactical maneuvers designed to reach those goals. Given the range of views, policy analysis and recommendations should take into account all possibilities and scenarios. What remains incontrovertible in any analysis is the disastrous costs of a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

On March 13, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings will host leading U.S. experts to explore the possibility of an offensive-minded North Korea and its policy implications, and assess the humanitarian, economic, political, and logistical costs of a military conflict on the Korean peninsula. Following each session, panelists will take questions from the audience.

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9:00 a.m. Welcome remarks

John R. Allen, President, The Brookings Institution 

9:15 a.m. Revisiting North Korea's strategic intentions

Jung H. Pak, SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies, Senior Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution
Abraham Denmark, Director, Asia Program, Senior Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Bruce Klingner, Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia, Heritage Foundation
Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow, Korea Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies

10:30 a.m. Assessing the costs of a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula

Moderator: Ryan Hass, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Center for East Asia Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution
Roberta Cohen, Chair Emeritus, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
Mara Karlin, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Security and Strategy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, The Brookings Institution
Laura Rosenberger, Senior Fellow and Director, Alliance for Securing Democracy, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Scott Seaman, Director, Asia, Eurasia Group

View Original Invitation.