Richard Weitz has an article published in The Diplomat that provides a good rundown of the issues surrounding the recent North Korean rocket test. Here is how he wraps up his article:
The Obama administration remains committed to the “action for action” approach that combines the use of positive and negative incentives with a willingness to engage the DPRK within the multilateral context of the Six-Party Talks. Under its policy of “strategic patience,” the Obama administration has demanded that the DPRK give some concrete indication, before resuming the Six-Party Talks, that the DPRK would make progress toward ending its nuclear weapons program. The Obama administration’s “strategic patience” policy does complement South Korea’s by joining with Seoul in refusing to resume direct negotiations with the DPRK until it clearly changes its policies.
But this policy of patiently waiting for verifiable changes in DPRK policies possesses several risks. First, it provides North Koreans with additional time to refine their nuclear and missile programs. Second, the current stalemate is inherently unstable. The DPRK could at any time resume testing its nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, likely to confirm and support its quest for a reliable nuclear deterrent but also possibly out of simple frustration about being ignored. The strategy also risks allowing a minor incident to escalate through the ROK’s “proactive deterrence” policy, which calls for responding immediately and disproportionately to any DPRK military provocations to deter further aggression.
The worst scenario would see the DPRK leadership, thinking that their nuclear and missile arsenals would protect them by deterring potential counterattacks, launching another provocation only to trigger the massive and prompt response posited in the new ROK strategy. The DPRK might respond by detonating a nuclear device in order to shock the ROK and its foreign allies into de-escalating the crisis. Or it might simply bombard Seoul and its environs with the enormous number of artillery systems that the DPRK has amassed in the border region. [The Diplomat]
The problem with most analysis of North Korea is that people assume there is a deal that the North Koreans would agree to in order to end their nuclear or ICBM programs. I have been saying for years that the North Koreans will never denuclearize or give up their ICBM programs. These programs make them relevant around the world and gives them internal regime security especially after what the Kim regime seen happened in Libya after Gadhaffi gave up his nuclear program. These programs are not something that a country like North Korea, who would be nothing but a third world backwater internationally otherwise, is going to give up.
Fortunately there are better options out there that are available in regards to dealing with North Korea.