Korea Global Forum 2014 International Expert Conference
The Korea Global Forum 2014 Trust, Peace, and Mutual Prosperityas a path to Korean Unification, international expert conference, was held in Seoul from September 25-26th, 2014. The forum was organized by the East Asia Institute and hosted by the Ministry of Unification of South Korea, where approximately 500 hundred people attended. The following are presentations and discussions of experts in attendance:
Frank Jannuzi, President and CEO of Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, argued that US policy change may be a new assessment of any threat to South Korea, or any opportunity that is available. The US has an alliance structure, but China doesn’t have anything comparable, not even with North Korea, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. He found that East Asia is a rapidly changing region, and at the same time, there is a lack of a security structure. He believes the region needs a multi-lateral security structure. Under the Obama administration, US policy on East Asia is low, and the Koreas are not a priority agenda, he explained.
John Everard, a former British Ambassador to North Korea, said the German unification issue corresponded to each other only after the collapse of East Germany. Francoise Nicolas, Director of the Center for Asian Studies, the French Institute of International Relations, also said German unification was not a deliberate policy, and not much a pre-unification by chance, due to the collapse of East Germany. She suggests South and North Korea can follow a Chinese model as one country two systems. The building of German trust also depended on other factors of European neighbors as well, but Korean trust building is dependent on the two Koreas only, she pointed out. Economic development is a significant factor for trust building where some negative results of the German experience led to East Germans feeling they are treated as a secondclass citizens.
Vasilly Mikheev, Vice President of Institute of World Economy and International Relations, argued if the two Koreas unite into a market economy on the Korean Peninsula, it will lead to decline. Russia will suffer as well. He said indeed Russia is responsible for North Korean nuclearization. Actually, Russian interests are a post Soviet security structure. He also said German unification was a collapse of the socialist system in East Germany. He identified the US engagement policy toward North Korea is not to assist in the survival of North Korea, but to collapse the regime. He hoped only that North Korea could collapse in a coup as a precondition for unification.
Li Nan, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, said the Chinese disapproved of North Korean nuclearisation, and neither of the US-ROK military exercises. China wants the IAEA to be involved in North Korean nuclear disarmament. China no longer considers North Korea as a buffer zone, even though, China and North Korea have a treaty, they don’t have real cooperation, such as they conduct no joint military exercises. Nowa---
days, China is considered by North Korea as a normal statist relationship. For China, it worries for US troops remaining in Korea even after unification, he expressed. Yoo Hoe-yeol, Professor at Korea University discussed trust building between North and South Korea, as President Park sent a message to the UN Assembly, for peace, development, and human rights as main points. In South Korea, young people do not really care for unification of the Korea peninsula, he revealed.
Dr. RyooKihl-jae, minister of Unification for South Korea, emphasized the precondition for North Korea to implement what they had already made an agreement on, and both sides need sincerity and commitment for trust building.
GeorgyToloraya, head of the Regional Projects Department, Russkiy Mir Foundation, declined imposing preconditions upon North Korea to start trust building, which is not like partnership communication. He argued that preserving two states is a must. If he has a chance to advise Kim Jongun, he will demand to stop provocations.
Hans-Ulrich Seidt, Inspector General, German Foreign office, has to inspect all German embassies around the world. His opinion of German unification was through confidence building and cooperation, not because of the collapse of East Germany or the USSR. The Euro currency was the result of German unification, he is convinced. It is important to be aware during confidence building, such as military exercises, they shouldn’t be made against the other side, North Korea, he suggested. And, he recalled back the importance of Russian and US leadership for trust building in the case of German unification.
Fujiwara Kiichi, a professor at the University of Tokyo, identified the East Asian regional security structure under US alliances should be one of cooperation among alliance states, such as the cooperation between Japan and South Korea a crucial part. He pointed out the problem in East Asian security as a lack of a mechanism to control an escalation from any state. Nowadays, social behavior also has changed in Asia, where Chinese people think they are a major power, and Japan is in decline of its power. The Japanese domestic situation is that the LDP administration wants to remain in power, not just Abe.
Former Under Secretary of State Kurt Gambell
The next day a special guest, Kurt Gambell spoke - nowadays is a dynamic and difficult time around the world with global balancing and changes. He noticed the US needs to step carefully around the Asia Pacific in order to play a role for what it wants, and the long-term effort must be, not just a tactic but also a larger vision. He warned that Asia has to become open and accept what the US initiated. Now, it’s the 40th anniversary of the opening up of China.
He called for South Korea and Japan to work together within the same US alliance, because North Korea is still working for China’s strategic interest. Actually, 20 years ago, North Korea did engage with the international community more than today; North Korea is only engaged with China, which disappointed him. In fact, the North Korean case is extraordinarily difficult, which can lead to mistrust among them. The unification of the Korean peninsula is not an original purpose for North Korea and China, he pointed out. To balance China’s influence, the US also trained some of North Korea’s young people for a future in the next generation. He clarified a relationship should be not just for military purposes;but also to help people in other ways. Of course, the US has conducted more dialogues with China and engaged an affective strategy than any other countries have done.
He also describe the internal US political situation, where parties are also divided and it’s difficult to make any affective policy. Policies are changing faster nowadays, as the result and there will be more frequent tension. For his under secretary position, he had to attend several conferences, frequently. Actually, he pointed out the US challenge as a strategy. Two sources of Asian strategies are a relationship with China and an alliance relationship. He admitted the US had erred for not working with Europe. When it comes to Russian and US cooperation for Asia, he pointed out it is hindered by the issues in Ukraine between the two superpowers at the moment.
At the Interantional Expert Conference in 2014