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NO.371 01.22.2018

"PyeongChang Winter Olympics Should Be Taken As an Opportunity to Solve the North Korean Issue”

The North Korean nuclear issue is the greatest risk that threatens peace and stability of the world beyond the Korean Peninsula and East Asia

This is why the attention of leaders from all over the world, including the United States and Europe, is concentrated on the Korean peninsula. World-renowned scholar John Ikenberry, professor of Princeton University and Eminent Scholar (hereinafter ES) of Kyung Hee University, delivered a special lecture at the University Administration Building of Seoul Campus on January 11, 2018. The theme of the lecture was “The North Korean Crisis and Future of East Asia”

"We have to worry about what to do in the constantly deteriorating international situation, "
Professor Ikenberry started his lecture by saying, “I have lectured on ‘International politics and the crisis of the Korean Peninsula’ twice a year for the last ten years, but the environment of international politics is not getting better.” Professor Ikenberry has been an ES professor at Kyung Hee University since 2008.

He evaluated the current state of international politics by saying, "Since the world order based on laws is not maintained, it is time to look for opportunities and measures to continue the current situation." Continuing to say that “in early 2018, it is difficult for us to have optimism," he explained the cause of the problem.

Professor Ikenberry pointed to changes in the role of Trump and the U.S. as one of the causes of the problem. "There are various problems that threaten peace. North Korea issue is one of the representative problems," he argued, "We should look through history to see what universities, scholars and intellectuals should do in dealing with problems concerning North Korea." "The United States, one of the world's great powers, cannot achieve its goals alone," he said and emphasized multilateral efforts by saying that “we should share common values and weaknesses to create new opportunities."

“The North Korean Nuclear Issue could be a global threat beyond the Korean Peninsula, but PyeongChang may present an opportunity to solve it.”
Professor John Ikenberry argued, "The PyeongChang Winter Olympics can play a positive role in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue. ” and said, "During the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, we should establish a joint global response phase, taking advantage of the moment that North Korea would stop nuclear and missile tests for the duration of the Olympics.” As a solution, he said, "We should put pressure on North Korea through economic sanctions, hold six-party and five-party talks, demand North Korea to suspend its nuclear test, while South Korea suspends its joint military drill with the United States as a ‘double suspension method.’”

In the Q & A session, participants discussed various issues such as China's influence on East Asia and the handling of North Korea's nuclear threat. Professor Jinyoung Jeong of College of International Studies asked, "In the 1990s, North Korea demanded ‘economic help’ in exchange for its nuclear development ban during the negotiation. At present, it is difficult to negotiate with economic help alone. What kind of incentives should be proposed in negotiations in the future?”

Professor Ikenberry answered, "It is important to create a process rather than to target a solution. We need to mitigate tensions through mutually beneficial activities and be careful not to make miscalculation through dialogue. Miscalculation can lead to military force." He then suggested using SNS, such as Twitter, could be a solution.

Student Seok-ju Hong (History, ’16) gave his impression of the lecture, saying, "It was good to hear the vision for the Korean Peninsula and solutions suggested from the perspective of a foreign professor. As a history major, I have been interested in how to resolve the present problem, and I think I’m beginning to find parts of the answer.”

Special lecture is a program in which Kyung Hee University invites global figures leading academic and intellectual history to explore the bigger future of human society. University invites domestic and overseas scholars, experts, and practitioners as speakers to form a special lecture for new perspectives on our society and human civilization and for a peaceful future.

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