With North Korea having steadily increased its nuclear and conventional security capabilities over the course of recent months, the speakers explore practical options for lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula. They consider how best to re-engage diplomatically with North Korea, including the role of key actors such as the US, South Korea, Japan, and European states, in advancing a constructive resolution of current tensions. The discussion explores finding a balance between pressure and dialogue which is most likely to incentivise North Korea to limit its provocations, assess the risks of a possible seventh nuclear test, and consider the viability of multilateral cooperation in enhancing regional security in north-east Asia. This event forms part of the Korea Foundation Korea Fellowship, funded by the Korea Foundation and Taejae Academy.
Nongovernmental engagement between Europe and North Korea, or Track II engagement, has played an important part in facilitating dialogue with North Korea, especially during difficult periods of official diplomacy. European countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland have notably taken a lead in investing in these efforts, which have helped to create space and flexibility to discuss sensitive issues. Please join the National Committee on North Korea and the East-West Center in Washington for a North Korea in the World webinar to discuss the role of European-DPRK Track II engagement featuring Glyn Ford of Track2Asia.
Track2Asia Director Glyn Ford participates in a debate with Benjamin R. Young (assistant professor of homeland security and emergency preparedness at Virginia Commonwealth University), Jean Do (assistant professor in the Institute of Humanities for Unification at Konkuk University) and Joshua Stanton (founder of the blog OneFreeKorea) on what Pyongyang really means by “final victory” and how it might go about achieving its long-term goals on the peninsula. Building on an NK News article making the case that Kim Jong Un seeks regime survival through unification and a rebuttal arguing that the DPRK is too aware of its weaknesses to risk war, the experts draw comparisons to other countries’ situations, analyze North Korea’s words and actions and consider whether Seoul would go along with what Pyongyang wants.
Track2Asia Director Glyn Ford shares his insights about North Korea’s rationale behind its approaches to economic reform and modernization, energy and manpower shortages, and the development of a nuclear deterrent, and how understanding these motivations are key to resolving the current stand-off between Washington and Pyongyang.
College of Social Sciences, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
Over several decades, negotiations with North Korea have gone through various ups and downs. After a promising period three years ago, the talks to reach an agreement on denuclearization and a peace arrangement on the Korean peninsula have been deadlocked since the latest abortive attempt at the 2019 US-DPRK summit in Hanoi. However, such a stalemate is not new. All previous efforts to negotiate a settlement have proved unsuccessful, yet they have neither failed in the same way nor for the same reasons.
How can we explain the cycles of previous – and contemporary – high expectations followed by serious setbacks? What can we learn from the preceding experiences about what type of a deal might eventually be acceptable to all sides? What does Pyongyang want and does the Biden Administration have a good shot at achieving a deal? How can Europe help bring about a sustainable peace on the Korean peninsula?
Institute of Korean Studies, Freie Universität Berlin