US President Donald Trump's "hard-line" stance on North Korea will force the dictatorship to make compromises next year, a South Korean think tank has predicted.
Because Trump has reacted with such fury to the Stalinist state's missile and nuclear tests, North Korea may have to concede ground over fears the US will "execute a military strike".
Anxieties about US power could combine with a crippled economy and the loss of China and Russia as allies to force the belligerent autocracy to cool down its nuclear programme, reports Daily Mail.
"[In 2017], North Korea hasn't been diplomatically compromising at all," the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
"But the year 2018 will be different."
The institute predicted that it will probably be at the end of 2018 when North Korean makes "inevitable concessions with the international community".
Despite the hermetic state declaring itself a nuclear power in its propaganda, Asan said that - in reality - it would only be considered as such by the world if it built at least 100 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It would also have to demonstrate a test of an airborne nuclear ICBM and then launch a missile from a submarine near the US.
Asan added: "But there's little room for North Korea to conduct bigger provocations.
"If North Korea does the tests, the US would strongly protest and may even execute a military option. That may leave North Korea [with the only option of making] concessions."
The think tank predicted that North Korea would be most likely to hold talks during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which are being held in South Korea in February.
But if talks with the US fail, the authoritarian state could "try to make a breakthrough by improving relations with South Korea", Asan noted.
"That could well be the case if Trump continues his 'hard-line stance", it added.
But either way, the country will find completing its nuclear programme very difficult given its dire economic position.
On top of that, the think tank said, its allies Russia and China could give up on their troublesome friend over fears it may pose a threat to them as well as to their geopolitical rivals.