As tensions between the U.S. and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea) approach new heights, the new U.S. administration is beginning to prioritize the conflict in Korea in its foreign policy agenda. However, the Trump administration’s approach to the DPRK has yet to be fully determined or articulated. The administration has repeatedly stressed that it would prefer to resolve issues through diplomatic means, but officials have also made overtures toward military action.
Use of force by the U.S. against the DPRK could elicit overwhelming retaliatory strikes on Seoul, jeopardizing millions of lives. Yet diplomacy appears to be at an impasse, as well. Avenues for communication are urgently needed to de-escalate tensions and begin dialogue.
American nonprofit organizations addressing humanitarian, cultural, scientific, and other concerns of mutual interest have established some of the most consistently successful partnerships between Americans and North Koreans. Scaling their best practices to the government-to-government level could represent the best chance of success for political dialogue.
This report presents AFSC’s reflections on its work in Korea over the last 65 years and shares the critical humanitarian issues we see as opportunities for dialogue between the U.S. and DPRK.