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In the United States, news coverage of North Korea's nuclear program, as well as U.S. policy toward the North and reactions of U.S. allies and others in Northeast Asia, tend to reflect the Bush administration's interpretation of events. With six-party talks on the nuclear crisis about to resume, this forum seeks to offer instead some regional perspectives on the crisis.

The Social Science Research Council has commissioned papers from distinguished experts from three of the countries involved in the six-party talks: Funabashi Yoichi, who writes a column on foreign affairs for Asahi Shimbun; Yun Duk-min of South Korea's Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security; and Gennady Chufrin, deputy director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The contributors were asked, What are the regional consequences of the current impasse in six-party talks and continued North Korean production of fissile material?

Each was asked to discuss the interests and strategy of a country other than their own. They were to assume that the stalemate in talks persists, North Korea continues to arm and the crisis intensifies. Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at SSRC, provides a background paper detailing the interactions of the United States and the D.P.R.K. over the past four years and the reactions of others, especially South Korea and Japan.

This project was made possible by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, whose support is gratefully acknowledged.

Essays