A Roundtable Luncheon featuring Dr. Jin Park on Recent Developments on the Korean Peninsula and Prospects for U.S.-Korea Relations
San Francisco, USA
July 30, 2018
On July 30, The Asia Foundation and the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley organized a conversation on “Recent Developments on the Korean Peninsula and Prospects for U.S.-Korea Relations” with Dr. Jin Park, President of Korean-American Association and Asia Future Institute. As a member of the board of directors of the Friends of The Asia Foundation in Korea, Dr. Park is an adviser of the Foundation’s programs in Korea and the region. Following the fanfare of the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, Secretary Mike Pompeo has visited Pyongyang for the third time to make a breakthrough in the nuclear talks. We are entering uncharted waters in Korea and Northeast Asia, and Dr. Park, with his years of experience covering foreign policy and security issues in the Asia Pacific region, shared his perspectives about the array of challenges facing the region.
Dr. Park shared his opinion about the current status of North Korea. Dr. Park said, “The problem with North Korea is not just the nuclear issue, but it goes deeper into the nature of the political regime.” “Regional security is not easy…unless you radically change the nature of our alliance and disregard the security situation on the Korean Peninsula. [Satisfying the five demands from DPRK] is something very, very difficult” Dr. Park also added the importance of the coordination of U.S. policy.
“So, this is the difficulty of the U.S. policy. Maintaining sanctions, on the one hand, and to make friendship with North Korea. How do you manage the two contending requirements? In what order and in what time frame? This needs to be discussed closely with South Korea because we are dealing with North Korea on a daily basis across the demilitarized zone. Therefore, coordination of policy is very important.”
Dr. Park also made a comment on Secretary Pompeo’s statement that the U.S. is “engaged in patient diplomacy” with DPRK. He said, “This is a reflection of the difficulty of dealing with North Korea. Which [South Korea] knows very well…We dealt with North Korea for 25 years [since DPRK’s withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty] trying to reverse their decision and to change the course of history for North Korea to understand them to make the right decision. So, it will be difficult for any government in Washington to change the thinking in North Korea in one or two or two and half years of time. It will be impossible. I think that is a mission impossible, but that does not mean we should do nothing. We should try our best to carry the message to the North in one voice – South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan- five countries should be one voice to North Korea [saying] ‘you have [a] better option for the future of the country and we are ready to help you under the condition that you denuclearize.”