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What is the Road Ahead? By: Victor Cha CSIS Korea Chair and Senior Adviser

north-korea06 Jan 16.

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will convene this week, issue statements and eventually authorize a new UNSC resolution (UNSCR) calling for ramped up sanctions. The past three resolutions have not, however, impeded the nuclear program or deterred more tests.
  • The United States will throttle up sanctions based on the new UNSCR and the Presidential Executive Order 13687 issued on January 2, 2015 following the Sony hack to impose more financial sanctions on accounts and individuals involved with proliferation, cyber attacks, and human rights.
  • The United States may seek immediate trilateral meetings with its key allies Japan and Korea, as well as pursue better cooperation on missile defense and intelligence sharing with Seoul and Tokyo.
  • There will be anger and disappointment expressed by them and others, but it remains to be seen whether we will see a change in Chinese behavior. The Chinese foreign ministry stated that they were not informed of the test in advance. A good, albeit lofty, outcome would be for China to embargo economic activity in response to the test, and temporarily close off airspace to North Korean flights.
  • In terms of diplomacy outside of UN actions, the nuclear test provides an opportunity for the Six-Party Talks to consider organizing China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States to discuss steps forward and potential contingencies.
  • Once a UNSCR is put forward, North Korea is likely to respond in some manner to the UNSCR when it is announced, which may lead to a new round of provocations.

Korea Chair Snapshot is a product by the CSIS Korea Chair providing key takeaways from breaking events of the day. Korea Chair Snapshot is published by the Office of the Korea Chair (http://www.csis.org/ program/korea-chair) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, non-profit organization founded in 1962 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and policy solutions to decision makers.

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