The Carnegie Council hosted a panel discussion titled, “Threats and Opportunities on the Korean Peninsula,” on May 17, 2016. The discussion had three panelists, who were: Korean Consul General Gheewhan Kim, Scott A. Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies and director of the program on U.S.-Korea policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Sue Mi Terry, Bower Group Asia's managing director for Korea. Joanne Myers, Director of Public Affairs Program, moderated the discussion.
Ambassador Kim discussed the status of North Korea. Two weeks before the panel discussion, the Worker’s Party Congress was held in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-un was endorsed as the supreme leader of the party at the Congress, during which he reiterated his Byeongjin policy – simultaneous developments of economy and nuclear weapons program. However, North Korea suffers from economic instability, evidenced by growing black markets, and from falling internal loyalty to the leader.
Kim Jong-un faces the challenge of juggling a legitimacy competition with a more affluent South and the difficulties of keeping his Byeongjin policy due to the international sanctions in response to nuclear tests. Mr. Snyder stated that four challenges face the international community’s focus on sanctions: 1) Change of leadership in the US and the ROK, 2) Coordination with China, 3) Difficulty reversing course after North Korea has already tested nuclear weapons, and 4) Finding a backup plan should sanctions not work.
In order to face the challenges posed by North Korea, Dr. Terry offered both short and long-term solutions. In the short-term, she advocated cooperation between Korea, the United States and China. She also suggested the U.S. allies should broadcast a consistent message vis-à-vis North Korea. In the long-term, she believes that Washington should continue to push a unification agenda while also preparing for contingency scenarios. Though there are many challenges for unification, there are considerable benefits for both the region and the U.S. In addition to incalculable security gains, there are significant economic benefits and a huge boon for human rights.
For full transcript and video of the event, please visit http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/studio/multimedia/20160517/index.html.
This event is featured as a part of “A Korea in New York,” as it aligns with the purpose of the initiative by the Korean Consulate.
“A Korea in New York” is our collective slogan for 2016 that encompasses our aims to promote Korean contents to the communities in New York and the surrounding areas. We want to proactively share these elements in a way that best contributes and gives back to our neighboring communities as well as the entire US.
“A Korea in New York” means:
1. Promoting ONE IMAGE of Korea through partnerships.
2. BRINGING KOREA CLOSER to New Yorkers and beyond by vitalizing Korean culture in the United States, facilitating community cooperation, and creating shared values.
3. Sharing an AUTHENTIC, YET CREATIVE Korea, maintaining tradition while embracing new creative fields; creation of a set of best practices to be used and spread globally.