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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Death of North Korean Leader
WASHINGTON - December 19 - As news broke about the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation calls for a calm, patient and cautious wait-and-see approach by the US and neighboring countries.
Duyeon Kim, Deputy Director for Nuclear Non-Proliferation says, “Immediate turmoil or chaos on the ground is unlikely but rather a fairly stable situation because North Korea has been planning for this day for a while and the next leader is in place, Kim Jong-un.”
“Given the unpredictability of the leadership transition, South Korea and U.S. should be wary of and prepared to respond to new military provocations,” said Senior Military Fellow Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA, ret.) “At the same time we should remain open to continued engagement with the North, as discussions had begun to show some progress in recent months.”
The U.S. and North Korea were slated for a third round of bilateral talks this week aimed at laying the ground work for a resumption of stalled six-party talks.
Duyeon Kim continued: “Nuclear talks may be put on hold for the time being, particularly the US-North Korea bilateral that was slated for this week, while North Koreans mourn the loss of their leader. It's unlikely North Korea's nuclear and foreign policies will dramatically change, so in the big picture, Kim Jong-il's death may not change the key sticking points in nuclear talks.”
“While it is difficult to predict how the ruling regime will react to Kim Jong-ils death, it still appears clear that dialogue and diplomacy remain the best way for the US and its allies to address North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,” added Gen. Gard
For more information, please read Duyeon Kim's analysis here.