May 17, 2022

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Millions spent, but what has Track II with N. Korea achieved?

Investigation reveals more than $5 million spent on Track 1.5/2 dialogues since 2009, though participants struggle to cite successes

North Korea has nuclear weapons and apparently wants more. The United States says it can stand for neither. And yet, the nuclear-armed dictatorship and the world’s superpower apparently aren’t talking to each other to resolve the standoff.

The last session of the Six-Party Talks, the official disarmament negotiations that also include South Korea, China, Russia and Japan, was held in late 2008. Sporadic diplomatic overtures since then have ultimately amounted to little. In 2012, the U.S. agreed to resume food aid to the North in return for a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. But the widely hailed “Leap Day Deal” fell apart just weeks later when the North announced its intention to launch a satellite, a move slammed by Washington as a pretext for honing ballistic missile technology. Most recently, Pyongyang slammed the brakes on any prospects for talks by preemptively ruling out a nuclear deal similar to that signed by Iran.