The Need for US-China-Russia Cooperation on North Korea
Policy Briefs

The Need for US-China-Russia Cooperation on North Korea

Policy Brief No. 92

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In this APLN Policy Brief, Gabriela Bernal argues that it’s essential that China, Russia, and the United States put aside their differences and once again cooperate toward achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The US in particular should be willing to amend past policy positions to create the conditions for a possible resumption of diplomatic talks with North Korea, she says.

As Bernal writes, next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement that was signed in 1953. However, a formal end-of-war declaration or a peace treaty are not currently possible without major progress being made first between Washington and Pyongyang. Moscow and Beijing have important roles to play here, she says.

Bernal makes a number of policy recommendations. She advises Washington to accept, even grudgingly, that North Korea is a de-facto nuclear weapons-armed state and to devise a diplomatic strategy adapted to this reality. A far longer-term approach needs to be taken on the issue, she adds, and reconciliation could begin with US-China-Russia cooperation on matters deemed less contentious by North Korea, such as humanitarian affairs and disaster relief.

Ultimately “Washington, Beijing, and Moscow must set their differences aside and put the long-term, greater good of the world ahead of their own disagreements and rivalries,” Bernal states.


About the Author

Gabriela Bernal is a PhD candidate at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, South Korea and a freelance writer on North Korean affairs. Her analyses and writings have appeared in various outlets, including BBC, Nikkei Asia, The Financial Times, Voices of America, The Korea Times, The Straits Times, The South China Morning Post, Asia Times, and more. Gabriela’s main research focuses on inter-Korean relations and North Korean foreign policy.

Disclaimer: The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Asia Pacific Leadership Network or any of its members. The APLN’s website is a source of authoritative research and analysis and serves as a platform for debate and discussion among our senior network members, experts and practitioners, as well as the next generation of policymakers, analysts and advocates. Comments and responses can be emailed to

Image: Roman Harak, Creative Commons, Flickr.