Elevated political tensions in Northeast Asia have the possibility of spilling over into a larger military conflict. The authors of this Junior Fellows brief recommend that there be high-level talks regarding North Korean denuclearization between China, Japan, the United States and South Korea. They recommend that a working group be established to generate incentives for North Korea to denuclearize, and China should be incentivized to cooperate by linking North Korean denuclearization milestones with US military withdrawal from South Korea. Channels of communication should be kept open and active, while pursuing a goal that is beneficial to all parties interests, and that will work to generate empathy and foster an atmosphere of cooperation. The authors conclude that when pursued in good faith, these recommendations could improve communication pathways, opening space to increase empathy and lower tensions in the region. 

The CIGI Junior Fellows program at the Balsillie School of International Affairs provides masters level students with mentorship opportunities from senior scholars and policy makers. Working under the direction of a project leader, each junior fellow conducts research in one of CIGI’s program areas. This series presents those policy briefs that met CIGI’s publications standards.