The United States has been negotiating with North Korea in an effort to have it renounce its nuclear program for over a decade, since Washington negotiated an Agreed Framework in 1994. In this time, North Korea has only amassed more plutonium. The negotiations are hindered by mutual distrust and hostility, but it is doubtful whether any change in Washington’s attitude toward the dprk would help solve the nuclear issue. It is the Kim regime that is the core problem. Until the regime is removed, there can be no durable peace in the region. This article suggests that with the prospect for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear issue remote, and since any attempt to remove the Kim regime militarily would entail huge costs, Washington might consider a third option: directly engaging the North Korean people.