Leap Day in North Korea

North Korean Security Challenges: a net assessmentMark Fitzpatrick, director of the IISS’s non-proliferation programme and editor of last year’s Strategic Dossier on North Korean Security Challenges, has an article in Foreign Policy on North Korea’s agreement to suspend uranium enrichment in return for food aid. He writes:

‘When North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died late last year, analysts had no clear idea what the accession of his youngest son, Kim Jong Un, might mean for the Hermit Kingdom. On Feb. 29 this leap year — appropriately enough — we got an initial hint, when Pyongyang agreed to suspend work at the state-of-the-art uranium-enrichment plant at Yongbyon that it had suddenly revealed to a visiting U.S. nuclear scientist in November 2010, to halt nuclear and missile tests, and to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency back into the country after a three-year absence. The new deal with the United States, concluded in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid, will not eradicate the North Korean threat. It augurs well, however, for Kim Jong Un’s foreign-policy smarts and will be seen internationally as a diplomatic victory for U.S. President Barack Obama.’

Read the full article in Foreign Policy


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