There's also a push by U.S. lawmakers for strong unilateral steps similar to sanctions issued against Iran, and similar to what the Bush administration used against a Macau-based bank that held about $25 million in North Korean funds. The Macau measure was seen as effective because it caused a ripple effect among other banks worried about being shut out of the international financial system because of dealings with Pyongyang. The measure, however, proved complicated to undo when nuclear negotiations with North Korea finally got back on track.
At the other end of the spectrum is dialogue. But both sides have preconditions. North Korea is interested in talking as one nuclear power to another with the United States. Washington rejects Pyongyang's claim to be a nuclear state and insists on total denuclearization as the basis for any dialogue — a condition that dooms talks before they begin, according to Delury.
It's still possible, Delury said, for Washington to sit down with the North and negotiate a partial nuclear freeze, laying the groundwork for an eventual rollback and ultimately elimination. He said that aggressive policy measures by Washington will "only justify faster movement" by North Korea "to strengthen all those capabilities."
Follow Foster Klug on Twitter: (at)APklug
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