• Heritage Action
  • More
Oct 17

Preparing for the Possibility of a North Korean Collapse

A North Korean government collapse would have serious consequences in North Korea and beyond. Collapse would reduce already scarce food available to the population, potentially leading to a humanitarian disaster. Factions emerging after a collapse could plunge the country into civil war that spills over into neighboring countries. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could be used and even proliferated. 

Mr. Bennett’s report examines ways of controlling and mitigating the consequences, recognizing that the Republic of Korea (ROK) and its U.S. ally will almost certainly need to intervene militarily in the North, likely seeking Korean unification as the ultimate outcome. However, to prepare for such contingencies, Mr. Bennett recommends Washington and Seoul must prepare to deliver humanitarian aid in the North, stop conflict, demilitarize the North Korean military and security services over time, secure North Korean WMD, and potentially deal with Chinese intervention. 

Bruce W. Bennett is an expert on military issues as well as being well-versed in Northeast Asia, having visited the region some 90 times and written much about Korean security issues. He has published studies on deterrence of North Korean threats and future South Korean military force requirements. He has worked with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Pacific Command and Central Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Japan, the South Korean and Japanese militaries, and the South Korean National Assembly.

More About the Speakers

Bruce W. Bennett
Senior Defense Analyst, The RAND Corporation

Hosted By

Bruce Klingner Bruce Klingner

Senior Research Fellow, Northeast Asia Read More