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Title Kyungnam University - University of North Korean Studies Hosts the 2020 Visiting Professors’ Conference (2020.01.14)
Date 2020.01.16
Type [News]

Kyungnam University and the University of North Korean Studies (UNKS) held the 2020 Visiting Professors’ Conference on Monday, January 13th at the Westin Chosun Seoul. 
Kyungnam University President Jae Kyu Park served as the host of the conference. Participants discussed the path forward for US-DPRK relations in the aftermath of the Hanoi Summit and measures for ROK-DPRK cooperation and easing tensions. Participants also examined the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula in 2020, basing their assessment on the implications of North Korea’s new path revealed at the plenary meeting of the North Korea Ruling Workers' Party Central Committee which was held in December, 2019. 
The conference featured a keynote address by Minister of Unification Kim Yeon Chul followed by presentations and a panel discussion.

In his presentation, Chung-Ang University Professor Lee Hye-jeong  predicted that US-DPRK relations in 2020 could shift depending on the United States’ domestic politics and on its strategic competition with China and Russia. He also emphasized the need to closely monitor the US presidential election.
Amid Korea’s diplomatic crisis with stalled US-DPRK nuclear negotiations, the US-China conflict, and a weakened US-ROK alliance, Professor Lee pointed out that there is a need for the US-ROK alliance to prioritize peace on the Korean Peninsula and a need for a balanced, integrated push for security, denuclearization, and a peace regime. He noted that this approach must serve as a replacement for the current system where Korea is forced to choose between its alliance and peace.  

Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS) senior research fellow Cho Sung-ryul , visiting professor at UNKS, gave the next presentation. He suggested that, in the context of North Korea’s dismal economy and prolonged sanctions, it is possible to predict the actions North Korea will take to overcome these limitations. He suggested that these actions will impact ROK-DPRK relations and the Korean Peninsula in 2020.
Professor Cho focused on issues of contention in the current South Korean administration’s North Korean policy making. In the economic sphere, he noted that pushes for ROK-DPRK collaboration possible within the frame of US-ROK cooperation are clashing with pushes for making a breakthrough in ROK-DPRK relations first and then getting the US and the international community’s support after the fact. He noted various options in the military sphere are running counter to each other as well. On one hand the government could induce US-DPRK negotiations and ROK-DPRK dialogue by postponing US-ROK joint military training and temporarily suspending further deployment of advanced weaponry to the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, he noted, the government could put itself in a favorable position to establish a peace regime by engaging in the minimum amount of joint military training with the US required in order to regain wartime operational control.

In closing the panel discussion, President Jae Kyu Park asserted, “If we communicate even more the more difficult it becomes to do so and build trust through dialogue, we can accelerate the restoration of ROK-DPRK and US-DPRK relations along with denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.”  

Executive Vice-Chair of the National Unification Advisory Council Jeong Se-hyun, Korean Red Cross President Park Kyung-seo, Former Executive Vice-Chair of the National Unification Advisory Council Kim Deog-ryong, Kyungnam University Chairperson Dai Soon Lee, UNKS Chairperson Sun Hyang Kim, former member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Hwang Jin Ha, as well as over 50 professors and visiting professors from Kyungnam University and UNKS attended the conference.