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North Korea: the reverberations of 25 May

By Rod Lyon

This Policy Analysis assesses the strategic consequences of North Korea’s second nuclear test.

Dr Lyon argues that this test is more troubling than the first: it points to a North Korean arsenal that is permanent and growing rather than temporary and diminishing.  Moreover, it undermines not only the existing agreements at the Six-Party Talks, but the broader philosophy of a negotiated settlement. Indeed, we seem to have crossed an important threshold in the long-running North Korean crisis, a threshold beyond which key states no longer accept that a negotiated settlement can deliver a denuclearised North Korea.

Opportunities for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem are declining rapidly, and more drastic and consequential options are now much closer.