Publish Date: Jan 13, 2003
Cover Story: How Dangerous Is North Korea?
How TIME Covered the News: Attempts to keep a nuclear North Korea at bay broke down in 2002, at which point the Hermit Kingdom and its leader Kim Jong Il started enriching uranium at the Yongbyon nuclear plant, sparking legitimate global fears that the nation would soon have nuclear weapons (they now do). North Korea’s posturing has changed little in the intervening years.
“South Korean officials are pushing the U.S. to negotiate a climb-down with Pyongyang; Kim, they believe, is desperate to end his country’s isolation and would agree to give up his nuclear ambitions if the U.S. dangled the promise of normalized relations and pledged not to attack him. But so far, the Administration has refused to negotiate until Pyongyang disarms. Hawks in Washington warn that Kim may try to blackmail the U.S. into another agreement he has no intention of keeping.”