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PacNet #70A – Dealing with North Korea’s New Leader: Getting it Right

The sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has introduced an element of uncertainty into a diplomatic process that appeared to be close to bringing about the resumption of six-party denuclearization talks. While Kim’s demise creates a new dynamic and the leadership transition in Pyongyang raises important questions, it hardly warrants the dire warnings of North Korean adventurism, implosion, or near-term collapse that have been issued by some analysts and commentators. Fortunately, the Obama administration is playing its cards carefully and well, and is disregarding the bad advice it is getting from some quarters.