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North Korea’s endgame

There is little doubt that North Korea will fall; what matters is how. The manner of the regime's demise depends on how others handle it. A gentle transition is possible, but so is an East German-style collapse, or, even, a cataclysmic war

Students march past the giant bronze statue of late Kim Il-sung, founder of North Korea

North Korea has been in the news again, and it is never good news. At talks with the US and China in Beijing in April, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, its official name) is said to have confirmed what had long been suspected: that it already possesses some nuclear weapons. Before long it will probably have more, by either or both of two routes: a plutonium facility shut down in 1994 but restarted earlier this year; or a newer secret highly enriched uranium programme, aided by Pakistan, the US detection of which triggered the current crisis.

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