July 21, 2005
As we look to the resumption of the Six-Party Talks July 26, press reports indicate the U.S. sees this as a make-or-break effort: if there is no progress, the talks will be abandoned and Washington will seek to ratchet up pressure on Pyongyang in other ways. Absent a truly outlandish move by the DPRK, such as a nuclear test, gaining support from others for such a hardening strategy would likely prove difficult and divisive. It isn’t that the U.S., and perhaps Japan, can’t impose substantial pain on the North on their own. But at the very least, the prospects of success would be questionable, and there would be high potential costs to U.S. relations with others like China and South Korea, whose cooperation is crucial on a variety of fronts.