This paper offers concrete policy recommendations and institutional tools for the incoming Biden administration and Congress to revise policy toward the Korean Peninsula. Deterring North Korea will remain a focus of the alliance, but prioritizing denuclearization must no longer monopolize the alliance’s political capital nor paralyze its global potential. The US and South Korea must clarify how shared values translate into policy convergence in security, economy, and technology domains to rediscover relevance in an era of multidimensional structural competition with China. Even without a comprehensive nuclear agreement with North Korea, the near-term priority must be to revitalize the regional security architecture to uphold extended deterrence to South Korea and Japan while institutionalizing a process of managing tensions and capping North Korea’s most destabilizing capabilities. Lastly, Congress must deliberate a viable path toward risk reduction and peace with Pyongyang while advocating for transformational change through advocacy for human rights and freedom of information.
Download the full PDF of Issues & Insights Vol. 21, WP 3 – A New Era of US Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula