Introduction to the Nautilus Institute's DPRK Briefing Book

The North Korean nuclear proliferation threat is a classic example of a complicated global problem. Like a badly tangled pile of ropes, each aspect of the Korean security dilemma is intertwined: the on-going division of the Peninsula and inter-Korean reconciliation, threat of nuclear proliferation and war, domestic downward spiral of North Korea, relations of the great powers to the Peninsula and to each other, weight of history and culture, and North Korea's barrier to regional economic integration. The more you tug on one strand to undo the tangle, the more other knots in the pile tighten.

The United States confronts several contingencies in the next weeks and months: that the DPRK deepens its nuclear opacity, declares itself a nuclear state (and maybe tests a weapon or two), or shifts back to sustained ambiguity as to its weapons capacities and intentions. The possibility remains that the regime could collapse altogether, thereby altering the tangle very quickly.

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The Nautilus Institute has created the DPRK Briefing Book to enrich debate and rectify the deficiencies in public knowledge. Our goal is that the DPRK Briefing Book becomes your reference of choice on the security dilemmas posed by North Korea and its relations with the United States. The DPRK Briefing Book is part of the Nautilus Institute's "US-DPRK Next Steps: Avoiding Nuclear Proliferation and Nuclear War in Korea" project.

The completed DPRK Briefing Book will cover approximately two-dozen "Policy Areas," each containing issue briefs, critical analyses from diverse perspectives, and key reference materials, some of which are available as PDFs. (To view the PDFs, you will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader). We will post additional Policy Areas over the coming months. If you would like to be notified as they are completed, please sign up for NAPSnet, if you haven't already.

The Nautilus Institute seeks a diversity of views and opinions on controversial topics in order to identify common ground. Views expressed in the Briefing Book are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Nautilus Institute. The information contained in these pages may be downloaded, reproduced and redistributed as long as it has not been altered and is properly attributed. Permission to use Nautilus Institute materials for publications may be attained by contacting us.


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact:

Scott, Bruce, Program Officer

The Nautilus Institute at the Center for the Pacific Rim,
University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street LM200
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080