February 21, 2024

The disjointed debate over engagement with North Korea

Both critics and proponents needed clearer, more specific arguments

After a relatively calm season of North Korean behavior, the question again being posed by many commentators is “to engage or not to engage?”

A number of North Korea experts and Western officials have recently offered their two cents. The merits of basketball diplomacy have been debated in the wake of Dennis Rodman’s unusual September visit, while former U.S. negotiators Stephen Bosworth and Robert Gallucci, called for bilateral U.S.-DPRK talks in an op-ed. The current British Ambassador to Pyongyang, Mike Gifford, added a European voice. These views have been met with a mixture of loud applause and fierce condemnation.