A New Approach to North Korea: Empowering Regional Actors by Reducing the American Military Footprint

By Geoffrey Fattig

Abstract: When Kim Jong-un came to power in late 2011, some hoped that his government would lead North Korea away from the confrontation and brinksmanship that had marked the reign of his father. These hopes were quickly dashed as the country defied international sanctions by successfully launching a satellite in December 2012, which resulted in the unanimous imposition of further sanctions by the UN Security Council the following month. In response, the North conducted its third nuclear test in February of this year. With tensions increasing and diplomacy at an impasse, the following proposal suggests that there be a full withdrawal of the American military from South Korea. Additionally, it is argued that this action will open up new avenues for regional cooperation, which will lead to a peaceful and denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

About the Author
Geoffrey Fattig is a Master’s candidate at UC San Diego’s School of International Relations/Pacific Studies. Prior to that, he lived in South Korea for five years as an English teacher and language student. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Sonoma State University. He is currently studying in Seoul at Sogang University on a Boren Fellowship in addition to interning at a North Korean human rights organization.

Editor’s Note: A shorter version of this article appeared this February in Foreign Policy in Focus. We are grateful to print this version with that publication’s permission.

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