North Korea currently ranks as the most worrying strategic problem in the Asia Pacific.
The recent acceleration of its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs is a major concern for both its neighbours and for countries further afield, like the US and Australia. Finding a solution to North Korea’s WMD programs has become much more urgent, but the international community is no closer to agreeing upon an effective course of action. Diplomacy has, at best, a mixed record of success; sanctions have so far proven slow and ineffective; and pre-emptive military options carry potentially high costs and large risks. Meanwhile, the regime in Pyongyang continues to tighten its hold on power. This is an area where there are no simple solutions.