Yong-Sup Han Visits to Discuss North Korea

Yong-Sup Han (far right) speaks to a full house at RAND

Photo by Jayne Gordon/RAND Corporation

May 1, 2017

At the invitation of the RAND Center for Asia-Pacific Policy, alum Yong-Sup Han (cohort '88) visited RAND in April to discuss “Challenges and Opportunities in Denuclearizing North Korea.”

Han has served as the vice president and director of the Research Institute on National Security Affairs at Korea National Defense University and is a leading defense intellectual in Korea. He has held leadership positions in the security and defense community since graduating from Pardee RAND.

Han started his talk by providing a background on international law related to nuclear weapons, South Korea’s nuclear policy, North Korea’s current and estimated future nuclear arsenal, and the threats that North Korea’s nuclear capabilities create for the U.S. and the world. He then reviewed the history of governmental talks designed to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, highlighting the especially important roles of the U.S. and China as negotiators.

Han suggested that the success of future talks will hinge in part on the ability of negotiating countries to reach consensus on priorities, messaging, and sanctions, especially on the part of South Korea, China, and the U.S. He recommended that future efforts at nuclear disarmament should begin with sanctions and deterrence, and only then move to dialogue with North Korea.