This is a piece based on my presentation at the Yonsei University earlier this year:
The Road Remains Open: Moon Jae-in's Berlin Speech as a Pathway to Peace [GlobalAsia]But if the conclusion is that no deal for denuclearization is possible with North Korea, the only remaining options are a military conflict or continuation of the status quo. Neither is acceptable, because it invites a realistic risk of a nuclear war either in the immediate term (on the Korean Peninsula) or in the longer term (through North Korea’s nuclear proliferation). At any rate, the Hanoi summit showed that there indeed is a deal to be had if it can be agreed that the only realistic way forward is for both the US and North Korea to climb down from their maximalist positions and engage in a step-by-step exchange of denuclearization and sanctions relief. The trust-building process that the Berlin speech outlined with North Korea remains the best path forward, if only because all other paths lead to a blind alley.
This paragraph basically sums up my thoughts on North Korea: if we accept that a nuclear war is not an option, we cannot stop diplomacy.