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Why does North Korea keep testing its nuclear capabilities, despite tightening sanctions?

What can the United States and the international community do to confront Pyongyang?

And how might the new Trump administration’s approach differ from that of President Obama?

If you have 20 minutes and want answers to these questions and more, have a listen to this Global Dispatches podcast conversation with Kelsey Davenport, the non proliferation policy director at the Arms Control Association.

Over the past several months, North Korea has engaged in a series of provocative nuclear and missile tests, including nuclear tests in January and then September of last year along with several ballistic missile tests. And in 2017 alone there have been no less than 5 missile launches, most recently on March 6, when North Korea launched four missiles which landed off the coast of Japan.

Meanwhile, later in March Secretary of State Tillerson traveled to the region, in his first big foray into the vexing regional diplomacy that so far has failed to stop North Korea from advancing its nuclear weapons programs. And while visiting the region, Tillerson promised to end the Obama-era strategy of strategic patience, but has not yet articulated what kinds of policies would take its place.

Kelsey Davenport and I discuss the strategic implications of the specific technologies that North Korea is testing. That is, why Pyongyang is opting to conduct these kinds of tests in particular. She also describes the policy options in the table for the Trump administration as is tries to confront North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

North Korea promises to be an early key foreign policy challenge for the Trump administration, and you will learn a lot from this conversation.

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