Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2010

U.S. Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula

Charles L. Pritchard, John H. Tilelli Jr., Scott A. Snyder

June 2010

Council on Foreign Relations


The Korean peninsula simultaneously offers dramatically contrasting opportunities for and dangers to U.S. interests in Northeast Asia. On the one hand, a democratic and free market–oriented South Korea has developed enhanced military capacity and political clout and an expanded set of shared interests with the United States. This enables more active cooperation with the United States to respond to North Korea’s nuclear challenge and promote regional and global stability and prosperity. On the other hand, a secretive and totalitarian North Korea has expanded its capacity to threaten regional and global stability through continued development of fissile materials and missile delivery capabilities, and has directly challenged the global nonproliferation regime and U.S. leadership.