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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden suggested during his campaign that he will engage in “principled diplomacy” with North Korea to achieve denuclearization. Pyongyang has yet to recognize Biden as the next U.S. president, but is likely hoping he will lift sanctions as an incentive to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un back to the negotiating table.

Yet lifting sanctions before Pyongyang dismantles major components of its nuclear weapons program would be a serious mistake. Like his father before him, Kim seeks to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul simply in exchange for talking.

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