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Seminars, Conferences and Sessions

Organize Seminars on North Korea. In corporation with its partners, INKS started to organize seminars, conferences, and academic sessions on North Korea in 2005.

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    The United States and the Two Koreas

    A Joint Seminar by The Institute for North Korean Studies (INKS) of the University of Detroit Mercy and the Korea Economic Institute of America

    12:30–17:00, March 23, 2005
    Commerce & Finance Building, the University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan


    The Institute for North Korean Studies (Director Suk Kim) at  the University of Detroit Mercy  and the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEIA) in Washington D.C. sponsored a half day seminar entitled “The United States and Two Korea” on March 23, 2005 in Detroit. Six distinguished speakers provided an outstanding overview of the North Korea problem and United States – Korea relations at the seminar held at the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) on March 23, 2005. During the seminar,  six distinguished speakers—three provided by UDM and three provided by KEI—presented a variety of information on these topics from both a political and an economic standpoint. Over 80 guests from the business community, the academic community, and the student population attended the seminar.

    James J. Przystup, Senior Fellow and Research Professor at the National Defense University began the first panel of the seminar, “North Korea’s Defining Moment,” by reviewing the activities that led to the 1994 Agreed Framework, the Sunshine Policy, and today’s six-party framework. Mr. Przystup stated that North Korea’s nuclear strategy is not just a U.S.–North Korea bilateral issue, due to the fact that nuclear proliferation involving the peninsula is a threat to the whole world. Since the six-party talks are currently stalled, in order to move forward there will need to be concessions or pressures. The goals of all of the six parties are the same: no war, no collapse of the current North Korean regime, and a de-nuclearized peninsula. However, not all of the six parties prioritize these goals in the same manner. For instance, the threat of a collapse of the North Korean regime is greater for South Korea, as they know from their studies of the collapse of East Germany and German reunification. In contrast, China may be more prepared to live with a nuclear North Korea as long as the situation remains ambiguous, and for the U.S. the biggest priority is the removal of nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula.

    Mr. Przystup stated that he does not see any concessions coming from the Bush administration, since they appear to believe that concessions would legitimatize the North Korean regime. He also does not believe that North Korea will use nuclear weapons, because it is against their best interests to do so. Mr. Przystup went on to clarify that the world should not make the assumption that North Korea desires to join the international community. For the North Korean elite that make up the regime, isolation is the best guarantee of their continued prominence.

    Next to speak was Scott Rembrandt, Director of Research and Academic Affairs of the KEI, who gave the South Korean perspective of the North Korean problem. He believes that the current process of having six-party talks is necessary and correct. From South Korean viewpoint, the U.S. needs to be more flexible in its stance. South Koreans see North Koreans as weak, in decline, and lacking the will and capacity to attack. Since they therefore see no direct threat from North Korea, and due to the fact that they have a cultural alliance bound by blood, they believe that more concessions are necessary than pressures. South Korea would recommend that the U.S. offers more concessions, and avoids any type of “roadmap” such as that in use for the Middle East. Koreans are less linear and would prefer a buffet of concessions.

    Mr. Rembrandt went on to discuss the recent North Korean Human Rights Act. He sees this as a good-faith effort on the part of the Bush administration, meant to help North Korean refugees. However, this Act also masks the desire of the Bush administration to bring about regime change, and that desire will lead to reluctance on the part of North Korea to return to negotiations within the framework of the six-party talks.

    Next, Dr. Thomas Park presented a slide presentation from the Christian Association for Medical Mission (CAMM), entitled “Faith-Based Private Humanitarian Relief to North Korea.” The mission of the CAMM, in operation since 1989, is compassion for the needy and the poor. For the past 16 years, CAMM has sent millions of dollars worth of medical supplies, medical equipment, food, clothing, and medications through World Medical Relief, an organization that, like CAMM, is based in Detroit. Dr. Park, President of CAMM and Clinical Professor at Wayne State University, provided some of the highlights of CAMM’s accomplishments. In 1995, CAMM founded the Third People’s Hospital in North Korea; the hospital was built by North Korean soldiers. Along with the multitudes of medical supplies (including tuberculosis medication) and equipment that have been sent to North Korea, CAMM has assisted in providing a new X-ray machine valued at $120,000. In 2001, CAMM, along with the Christian Ethics Movement, sent 50 goats to North Korea at a cost of $100 per goat—many of these Asian people are lactose intolerant and cannot tolerate cow’s milk. Further achievements of the CAMM are annual joint medical conferences held in Pyongyang every April, beginning in 1999. One of CAMM’s future goals is to sponsor North Korean doctors for training in the U.S.

    After a break for refreshments and networking, the second panel took the stage. The title of the second panel was “Economic Relations between the United States and Korea.” G. Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist for General Motors Corporation, led the way with his presentation on the current Asian economic strategy of export-led economic growth. As the great economist David Hume once said, “What will you do when you have collected all of the gold in the world?” So, then, what will Asia do when they have collected all of the U.S. dollars? The Asian process of collecting assets can only lead to over-expansion and a bubble that eventually bursts. Mr. Mohatarem believes that the U.S. should encourage Asian countries to decrease their savings and diversify from the U.S. dollar.

    The next to speak was Ted Osius, Deputy Director of the Office of Korean Affairs at the U.S. State Department. Using a slide presentation, Mr. Osius recapped the history of U.S. relations since 1882 with the area that is now the Republic of Korea (ROK). The audience was reminded of the great U.S. troop presence in South Korea, and also that the ROK is the third largest contributor of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. The South Korean economy is robust, there has been a significant exchange of cultural identifiers, and political and economic values are converging. Mr. Osius presented a chart depicting the levels of favorable and unfavorable views of the U.S. by South Koreans from 1988 to 2004, showing a high level of favorable views from 1996 to 2001. The favorable views fell below the unfavorable views in January 2003, rebounded in July 2003, but fell again in September 2004. Concerning the North Korea problem, from the ROK and the U.S. viewpoint, the door is open for North Korea to help its people, enhance their security, and raise their stature in the world. If North Korea is willing, their unsustainable policies can be left behind.

    Next, Jonathan Lee, Professor of International Business at the University of Windsor, gave a slide presentation on the current state of the ROK economy. The word “miracle” has been applied to the South Korean economy, and indeed the economy has done very well. Dr. Lee believes that South Koreans want reunification, but recognize that a collapse of the North Korean regime would be disastrous: South Korea would have to provide virtually everything, at an estimated cost of $3,000 per taxpayer.

    After each presentation, the audience was able to ask the speaker questions related to the talk and to various global issues. The many university professors and the Koreans in the audience led the way with pertinent questions. For the speakers, moderators, invited guests from the news media, and area business representatives, the seminar was preceded by a luncheon held in the UDM president’s dining hall. UDM President Gerard Stockhausen welcomed the seminar’s 40 luncheon guests, and Barbara Schirmer, UDM Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, delivered opening comments at the seminar. The moderator for the first panel was Bruce Brorby, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration at UDM, and the moderator for the second panel was Professor Michael Whitty of UDM. Bahman Mirshab, Dean of the College of Business Administration at UDM, introduced each speaker.

    Note: Stacey Banks of Clearly University wrote this report.
     
    The United States and the Two Koreas
    A Joint Seminar by The Institute for North Korean Studies (INKS) of the University of Detroit Mercy and the Korea Economic Institute of America
    12:30–17:00, March 23, 2005


    12:30–17:00, March 23, 2005
    Commerce & Finance Building, the University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan

    • 12:30–13:45    
      • Luncheon for Speakers and News Media Representatives (invitation only)
        Welcoming Remarks for Luncheon Guests
        Gerard L. Stockhausen, S.J., President of UDM
    • 14:00–14:15   
      • Opening and Welcoming Remarks
        Barbara Schirmer, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost of UDM
      • Introduction of Speakers
        Bahman Mirshab, Dean of the College of Business Administration at UDM
    • 14:15–15:30   
      • Panel I: North Korea’s Defining Moment
        Moderator: Bruce Brorby, Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration at UDM
      • James J. Przystup, Professor of the National Defense University, “How to Deal with a Nuclear North Korea: A Policy of Containment”
      • Scott Rembrandt, Director of Research and Academic Affairs, The Korea Economic Institute of America, “How to Deal with a Nuclear North Korea: A Policy of Engagement”
      • Thomas Park, Assistant Clinical Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, “North Korean Famine and Humanitarian Relief Programs”
      • Questions and Answers
    • 15:30–15:45    
      • Coffee Break
    • 15:45–17:00   
      • Panel lI: Economic Relations between the United States and Korea
        Moderator: Michael Whitty, Professor at UDM
      • Mustafa Mohatran, Chief Economist of the General Motors Corporation, “Is North East Asia Living on Borrowed Growth?”
      • Ted Osius, Deputy Director of the Office of Korean Affairs at the U.S. State Department, “The Increasing Role of South Korea in Global Economic Affairs”
      • Jonathan C. Lee, Professor at the University of Windsor, “The Increasing Role of South Korea in Global Economic Affairs”
      • Questions and Answers

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    North Korea—Economic Perspectives and International Cooperation

    A Joint Conference by the Korea America Economic Association, Hanns Seidel Foundation, and Seoul National University


    09:00-18:00, May 19, 2006
    The Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

    The Korea America Economic Association (President Suk Kim), the Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea (HSS), and Seoul National University (SNU) held, on May 19, 2006, a daylong conference on the North Korean economy at the Graduate School of Publication Administration of Seoul National University. The conference, with the main theme of North Korea—Economic Perspectives and International Cooperation, consisted of two academic sessions and one round-table discussion of a broad range of topics, from North Korean economic reform and U.S. economic sanctions against North Korea to North Korean information technology and international economic cooperation with North Korea. Six paper presenters, from South Korea, Germany, and the United States, and almost 70 attendees from academia, foreign embassies in Seoul, think tanks, and nongovernmental agencies reflected the fact that understanding North Korean economic perspectives and the country's international cooperation is in the interests of the world community.

    In his opening remark, Bernhard Seliger, Resident Representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea, challenged the audience by saying "we must think about how the aid to North Korea can trigger change, help the people in need, and influence the North Korean regime." Yet, he stated, "unconditional aid is not understandable neither as an economist nor as a German, speaking from the German experience." Foreshadowing the day's discussions, his remark insinuated that the thought of aid or economic cooperation with North Korea is in itself a difficult, but a real, issue. In fact, the lectures of the day did not hesitate to address the problems regarding assisting North Korea and inducing economic cooperation from the North Korean side.

    In his opening speech, Suk Kim, President of the Korea America Economic Association, expressed the gratitude of KAEA to the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Graduate School of Public Administration of Seoul National University not only for successfully organizing the joint convergence but also for funding the entire conference. In addition, Kim explained the three types of his ongoing projects involving North Korea—editing North Korean Review, writing and editing research monographs on North Korea, and organizing joint conferences and seminars about the North Korean economy—and appealed to the audience to participate.

    The three KAEA members, Joachim Ahrens of the European Business School, Semoon Chang of the University of South Alabama, and Suk Kim of the University of Detroit Mercy, presented their papers in the first session. Ahrens argued for the need for transitional institutions, and viewed unification as something that would come along as a result of the long-term process of market-enhancing governance. Suk Kim shared his view of the need to do business with North Korea and stated that "the strained relationship between the U.S. and North Korea under the Bush leadership is unlikely to change Pyongyang's open-door policy."

    After listing North Korea's past deeds, such as hijacking and money laundering, which have led directly to the U.S. economic sanctions against the country, Chang simply described North Korea as "lucky," saying that such acts have been sufficient to cause war. Chang continued by explaining how North Korea poses a threat to U.S. national security. "North Korea's policies in the past have crossed the paths of many U.S. laws that automatically invoked economic sanctions like a puzzled animal stepping on the hunter's traps," said Chang. While Chang shared the pessimistic view that "it is not clear how members of the six-party talks can afford not to find solutions to the latest nuclear crisis, that may end up being the last chance for peace without incurring huge human and economic costs from its failure," other speakers presented technically difficult but possible actions that can be taken to assist the North Korean economy.

    In the second session, the four paper presenters addressed specific North Korean economic issues and evaluated various North Korean attempts to improve its sagging economy. Sung-wook Nam of Korea University described the North Korean economic reform of July 2002 and its implications. Sang Tae Choe of the University of Southern Indiana claimed that although North Korea has recently aroused fears among the world's citizens, it possesses the latent potential to become economically strong. Sung-jo Park of the Free University Berlin said that despite the poor conditions of the country's information system infrastructure, North Korean efforts to set up its own software development system have enjoyed some success. Dalgon Lee of Seoul National University explained why discussions on the reunification of the Korean peninsular have recently switched from political perspectives to economic ones.


    Note: Lee Eon Joung of The DailyNK wrote the earlier version of this report.

    North Korea—Economic Perspectives and International Cooperation

    A Joint Conference by the Korea America Economic Association, Hanns Seidel Foundation, and Seoul National University

    09:00-18:00, May 19, 2006
    The Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

    • 09:00-09:30
      • Registration
    • 09:30-10:00
      • Opening Ceremony
      • Dalgon Lee (SNU), Suk Kim (KAEA), and Bernhard Seliger (HSS)
    • 10:00-12:00
      • First Session—Moderator: Sang Tae Choe, University of Southern Indiana
      • Joachim Ahrens, European Business School, "Market Enhancing Governance on the Korean Peninsular: The Role of Creditability and Transitional Institutions"
      • Semoon Chang, University of South Alabama, "The Saga of U.S. Economic Sanctions on North Korea"
      • Suk Kim, University of Detroit Mercy, "Reasons for Doing Business with North Korea"
      • Discussants: Lee Suk of the Korean Institute for National Unification, Im Su-Hwan of the Research Institute for International Investigation, and Nicole Risse of the EU-Korea Industrial Cooperation Agency
    • 12:00-14:00
      • Lunch (Hoam Faculty House of Seoul National University)
    • 14:30-16:30
      • Second Session—Moderator: Bernhard Seliger, Hanns Seidel Foundation
      • Sung-Wook Nam, Korea University, "Evaluation of North Korean July Economic Reform and Implication from the Perspective of Comparative Socialism"
      • Sang Tae Choe, University of Southern Indiana, "A Small Country with Big Issues"
      • Sung Jo Park, Free University Berlin, "IT Cooperation with North Korea"
      • Dalgon Lee, Secoul National University, "How Large Will the Birdcage be? Centering on the Goeseong Industrial Complex Project"
      • Discussants: In-Young Chun of Seoul National University, Jeong-won Lee of University of Suwan, Jong-Il Kang of the Institute of Korean Peninsula Neutralization, and Ralf Sonntag of the German Embassy
    • 16:30-16:45
      • Coffee Break
    • 16:45-17:45
      • Roundtable-Moderator: Dalgon Lee of Seoul National University
    • 17:45-18:00
      • Closing Remarks: Suk Kim of the Korea America Economic Association
    • 18:00-
      • Reception at Hoam Faculty House of Seoul National University
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    North Korean Economy at a Crossroads

    A Joint Session by the American Economic Association and the Korea America Economic Association

    Date: Saturday, January 6, 2007, 8:00-10:00 a.m.

    Place: Soldier's Field, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

    The Korea America Economic Association (President Suk Kim) and the American Economic Association held an interesting academic session on North Korean economy at the annual meetings of the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) in Chicago, January 4-7, 2007. This article summarizes the papers presented at the 2007 joint academic session of the American Economic Association and the Korea-America Economic Association, ASSA, with the theme "The North Korean Economy at a Crossroads." This session at which four papers were presented, was chaired by James Lister, Vice President of the Korea Economic Institute of America, Washington, D.C.

    The first paper, "North Korean Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies: Is there a Way out of Hyperinflation?" was presented by Bernhard Seliger, Resident Representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Korea. Seliger first discussed the difficulties faced by former centrally planned economies in their transition to a more market-based economic system from the experience of Eastern European countries and then examined North Korea's case from this perspective. In Eastern Europe, repressed inflation prior to transition led to hyperinflation in the transition process and sometimes demonetization. Hyperinflation was commonly followed by banking crises and exchange rate crises during the transition period. A rapid decline of the centrally planned economic system in North Korea began with the end of cheap energy supply and a reduction in aid from Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The public distribution system in North Korea, which had always been unreliable, ceased to function properly. The breakdown of distribution system led to non-monetary barter economy first and later, the private sector was re-monetized alongside the moribund official economy. When the differences between private market prices and official state prices were hundredfold, North Korea resorted to a price and wage reform on July 1, 2002. A narrowing of the gap between two market prices was temporarily achieved. However, the gap has widened further over the last few years. North Korea can learn from the Eastern European countries which had a dose of shock therapy with an initial difficult period during the early stage of transition, but are now in relatively healthy economic condition after 15 years of transition, or from China, which experienced no inflation with its gradual reform. Measures to end inflation will necessitate a much more thorough reform than North Korea is willing to enact for now, and the accommodation of inflation means growing inequality between those with access to foreign (hard) currency and those who have to rely on domestic currency and the largely defunct public distribution system. The pessimistic conclusion is that only half-hearted measures to fight inflation will possibly take place in North Korea for the time being.

    The second paper, "U.S. Economic Sanctions on North Korea," was presented by Semoon Chang, professor of economics and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, University of South Alabama. Professor Chang started his presentation with a historical review of major economic sanctions invoked by the U.S. against North Korea that had an impact on investment and trade with North Korea. Then he discussed how more recent sanctions have influenced the North Korean economy from the analysis of North Korea's trade data. North Korea is in violation of more than 13 U.S. laws. Three of these laws are directly related U.S. economic sanctions against North Korea. It began on June 28, 1950, when the United States invoked a total embargo on exports to North Korea on the basis of the U.S. Export Control Act of 1949. The most favored nation tariffs were rescinded on North Korea's exports to the United States on the basis of the Trade Agreement Extension Act of 1951, while the Export Administration Act of 1979 allowed North Korea to be branded as a terrorist state after its agents blew up KAL 858 on November 19, 1987. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, North Korea's policies had violated many US laws that automatically invoked economic sanctions. Since 1991, North Korea's policy appears to be based on the belief that freezing long-range missile and nuclear programs may be too high a price to pay for the largely symbolic easing of economic sanctions, although recent sanctions seem to have had an impact on North Korea's trade in recent years as seen from a rapid increase in its trade deficit and a decrease in the number of its trading partners from a peak of 130 countries in 2000 to 68 countries in 2005. China and Japan have been only two steady trade partners of North Korea until now. However, Japan's joining the UN economic sanctions recently will further isolate North Korea.

    The third paper, "North Korea: From Failing towards Reforming State? A Governance Perspective" was presented by Joachim Ahrens, professor of economics and international economy, Private University of Applied Sciences, Goettingen, Germany. Professor Ahrens argues that North Korea, even though it can be classified as a failing state according to the Failed States Index by the Fund for Peace, can become a reforming state with some policy changes. According to most indications of whether a state is failing or not, North Korea would be classified as a failing state. The country's destiny has been often predicted as collapse, chaos, and in the end, probably absorption by South Korea. However, the Kim Jong-il regime in North Korea so far has proved to be viable and has cultivated the art of survival within a globalized world without opening up. The author notes that North Korea seems to have renewed interest in South Korea's sunshine policy and that it seems to have initiated some rudimentary and cautious market-oriented reforms, even though they are definitely not straightforward and not sufficient. The author believes that all parties involved - the North Korean ruling elites, South Korean authorities and the rest of the world - have a vital interest in maintaining a politically sovereign and economically reforming state to avoid an apocalypse on the Korean peninsula. However, North Korea's nuclear threat potential, its reliance on exports of military goods for hard currency revenue (sometime through illegal transactions), and its opaque international bargaining strategy represent key obstacles. The paper concludes with the argument that effective integration and economic transition of North Korea crucially depend on the emergence and success of specific transitional governance structure which can lead to efficiency gains and enhance compatibility between ruling the country and pursuing the nation's welfare.

    The final paper, "Faith-based Private Humanitarian Relief to North Korea' was presented by Thomas Park, professor of medicine, Wayne State University and chair of the Christian Association for Medical Missions (CAMM). Professor Park described economic conditions of North Korea and involvement of the CAMM in helping the North Korean people. North Korea was critically affected by natural disasters such as flood and drought from 1995 to 1998. In response, the CAMM shipped medical and relief supplies to North Korea. More recently, medical and dental equipments, food, clothes and livestock were shipped. Some lessons learned from 17 years of operation include the following. The North Korean government shows openness to receiving humanitarian aid and educational assistance in the medical field. Assuring that relief support and supplies reach the intended end users is challenging due to the complex hierarchy of the system. Non-governmental efforts driven by humanitarian motives can contribute to improving the atmosphere for dialogue between governments.


    Note: Kang Hoon Park of Southeast Missouri State University wrote this article.

    North Korean Economy at a Crossroads

    A Joint Session by the American Economic Association and the Korea America Economic Association

    Date: Saturday, January 6, 2007, 8:00-10:00 a.m.
    Place: Soldier's Field, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
    Chair: James Lister, the Korea Economic Institute of America

    Papers

    • Bernhard Seliger, Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea, "North Korean Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies: Is There a Way out of Hyperinflation?"
    • Semoon Chang, University of South Alabama, "U.S. Economic Sanctions on North Korea."
    • Joachim Ahrens, European Business School, "North Korea: From Failing towards Reforming State: a Governance Perspective."
    • Thomas Park, Wayne State University, "The North Korean Famine and Humanitarian Assistance."

    Discussants

    • Elliott Parker, University of Nevada-Reno
    • Judy Thorton, University of Washington
    • Suk Kim, University of Detroit Mercy
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    Roundtable: The Nuclearization of North Korea

    American Political Science Association Annual Conference

    08:00 – 10:00, September 1, 2007
    Sheraton Hotel, Chicago, IL


    Professors Andrew Scobell (Texas A&M), Suk Kim (University of Detroit Mercy), and John Mersheimer (University of Chicago) presented perspectives September 1, 2007 on the causes of North Korea’s nuclearization at the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting.  Professor Scobell highlighted the interaction of domestic and international factors, Professor Kim explained the economic drivers, and Professor Mersheimer noted the strategic reasons for North Korea’s nuclearization.  Professor Michael Chambers (Indiana State University) commented on each of the panelists’ arguments and led the discussion. 

    Professor Scobell argued North Korea’s nuclearization can be understood as a two-level game where both domestic and international factors matter.  He demonstrated that internal factors matter even in totalitarian regimes.  Kim Jong Il has staying power, because he has been able to manipulate those around him.  He is not crazy, but must come to terms with other internal powers. 

    North Korea’s policy decisions have zig-zagged on economic reform, defense and foreign policy, and other areas.  There are different ways to explain this.  Kim could simply be indecisive or unsure about how to proceed.  Alternatively, different opinions may exist within Pyongyang among reformists or conservatives.  Indeed, some level of debate can be seen in guns versus butter debates in the North Korea media.  Scobell sees North Korea as come closely resembling a totalitarian state, and even totalitarian states have domestic politics.  One rationale for nuclearizing is to give money and prestige to the military and play different groups off one another. Professor Mersheimer argued that North Korea wants nuclear weapons for strategic reasons, and they will not give them up.  Historically, Japan, China, and Russia have fought over Korea like Germany and Russia would fight over Poland.  Their bad geography encourages North Korea to nuclearize for their own security.  The number of nuclear weapons is not so important, because even one or two nuclear weapons deters. 

    Professor Mersheimer continued that the rise of China may prompt Japan to nuclearize.  Taiwan and Korea matter in the U.S.-China competition, and South Korea may come to view North Korea’s nuclear weapons as favorable.  That is, it could become a Korean nuclear weapon as Korea’s nuclearization becomes frozen in place.

    Professor Kim stated that the Bush administration appears to be serious about the denucleariztion agreement of February 13, 2007. If so, North Korea will have to do the following four things for its long-term survival. First, fully comply with the agreement of February 13, 2007; Second, stop its aid seeking strategy through military threats; third, reduce its spending on military to that of  the level of South Korea; and fourth, reform its economy as much as Vietnam or China.

    Professor Kim continuted that oddly enough, for many years, the United States, North Korea, and many North Korean experts all have believed that the United States should hand out economic aid and security assurance if North Korea dismantles its nuclear program and settles the nuclear deadlock. Therefore, a U.S. policy of engagement and reconciliation with North Korea based on the agreement of February 13, 2007 would make it possible to alleviate tensions on the Korean peninsula as well as accelerate North Korean internal reform. Of course, there is no guarantee that any negotiated strategy, such as this agreement, with the unpredictable regime would work, but only this kind of agreement would enable the United States to put the other parties (South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia) in a position to increase pressure on North Korea in case a reasonable deal such as this agreement is rejected. In my opinion, the time has come for North Korea to honor the agreement and then reform its economy boldly, reduce its military budget radically, and stop international military extortion in the interests of its long-term survival. North Korean bold reform and radical reduction on military spending would definitely lead to the most efficient use of its scarce resources, thereby assuring its long-
    term survival.

    Note: Patrick McEachern of the US Department of State wrote this article


    19-5 Roundtable: The Nuclearization of North Korea

    American Political Science Association 103rd Annual Meeting

    Date: September 1, 2007: 8:00 AM to 9:45 AM
    Place:  Sheraton Ballroom, Sheraton Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
    Chair:  Michael Chambers, Indiana State University
    Panel Members:     

    • Suk Kim, University of Detroit Mercy
    • Andrew Scobell, Texas A&M University
    • John Mersheimer,  University of Chicago
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    The 9th World Knowledge Forum: Pyongyang University of Science & Technology

    The Strategic Role of North Korea
    The 9th World Knowledge Forum of the Mail Business Newspaper

    Sheraton-Walkerhill Hotel, Seoul, South Korea
    17:00-18:10, October 16, 2008

    • Speaker
      Marcus Noland, Senior Fellow of Institute of International Economics
    • Panelists:
      Donald Johnson, Former Secretary-General of OECD
      Thomas F. Cargill, Professor of Neavad-Reno Univ.
      PARK Chan-Mo, Former President of POSTEC
      KIM Chin Kyung, President of Pyongyang University of Science & Technology
    • Moderator
      KIM Suk Hi, Editor of North Korean Review, the University of  Detroit Mercy University

    Pyongyang University of Science & Technology

    I  had the great privilege of organizing a session on the North Korean economy at the 9th World Knowledge Forum (WKF) held in Seoul, South Korea, on October 14–16, 2008.  The Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea’s number one economic daily, has hosted the WKF for years. Its supporting organizations include the Financial Times, Reuters, the OECD, and the INSEAD. Its past speakers include Colin Powell, Alan Greespan, George Soros, Paul Krugman, and Thomas Schelling. The 9th WKF called for senior-level executives, entrepreneurial innovators, technologists, financiers, analysts, and high-level government workers to solve outstanding global issues that are in desperate need of solutions. With 150 speakers from 50 countries around the world and 3,000 participants, this important forum integrated top decision-makers from all sectors of global society in the most comprehensive way.

    In the opening ceremony of the 9th WKF, South Korea President Lee Myung-bag proposed the establishment of new international organizations to cope with new global challenges, such as the global financial crisis, climate change, and the energy crisis. Lee said, “Now is the time to find common solutions to pressing global issues. We need to create a better order if necessary.” Lee’s aids said that he has long believed that the world needs a new international organization capable of tackling global financial market issues and the establishment of a new organization to deal with climate change. The U.S.-originated financial crisis has hit the global economy hard and terrified many people. Uncertainty seems the most appropriate term to describe today’s circumstances.

    Panel members of a WKF session called “The Strategic Role of North Korea” included three editorial board members of North Korean Review, Thomas Cargill, Suk Kim, and Marcus Noland, in addition to Donald Johnston (OECD), Chin Kyung Kim (Pyongyang University of Science & Technology), and Chan Mo Park (Blue House). The five panel members presented a variety of information on the North Korean economy from the standpoints of both economics and politics to about 200 people from the government, business, and academic communities.  In my role as session organizer, I commented on each of the panelists’ arguments and led the discussion.  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the session was the information about a university being established in Pyongyang  by a group of South Koreans.

    In these times of global and economic uncertainty, North Korean watchers have to wonder how these crises will affect North Korea. Does this country have in place the kind of infrastructure that will enable it to deal with these arising global challenges and economic uncertainties, both now and into the future? One way for any country to face its future successfully is to educate its people. Chin Kyung Kim stressed the need to develop relations with North Korea by any means possible, believing, that "the future will be brighter if we put our hands together". When China opened its doors in 1979, he realized that what was needed was a university to satisfy a populace hungry for education. A few years later, he founded Yanbian University in the heart of China’s ethnic Korean region of Yanbian, near the Tumen River frontier, to fulfill this purpose. The university has become a successful model for cooperation. Now, he is trying the same model with North Korea, with  Pyongyang University of Science & Technology (PUST), scheduled to be opened with 150 students in April 2009. Eventually, the university plans to grow its student body to 2,500 students and hire 250 professors.

    PUST is North Korea’s first institution of higher education founded, operated, and funded by associations and people outside the country.  Since 2001, Chin Kyung Kim and another panel member, Chan Mo Park, have spearheaded the establishment with these privately raised funds to construct the sixteen buildings necessary for the opening of the university. The dormitories, academic and utility buildings have been almost completed as of the end of 2008.  PUST plans to train talented young North Korean people in the fields of information and communication technology, industrial management, agriculture, food and life science, architecture, joinery and construction, and public health. The major challenge that faces the university is related to maintaining its financial resources.  The founders and their supporters will need to provide PUST with its entire operating and capital expenditures almost permanently, because North Korea will continue to suffer economic difficulties for years.

    It is hard to believe that Mr. Chin Kyung Kim  is the same man who was detained for six weeks in North Korea in 1998 and threatened with a death sentence by his interrogators. The establishment of PUST represents a shift in the outlook of North Korea’s ruling elite, which counted on the former Soviet Union and its eastern allies for most of their technical aid and advice until the breakup of the Soviet empire in 1990.  PUST, along with the Kaesong Industrial Complex, appears to be the best kept secret for the long-term survival of North Korea.  During “The Strategic Role of North Korea” session, Kim argued that Asia needed a union, similar to the European model, and that this union would not be possible without the inclusion of North Korea to bridge gap between North and South East Asia.  Kim hopes that this new university would be a first step towards bridging that gap. Those who would like to know more about PUSTA are encouraged to visit its website athttp://pust.net/

    Suk Hi Kim of the University of Detroit Mercy wrote this report.

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    Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST)

    Session Summary          

    Professor Suk Hi Kim of the University of Detroit  Mercy moderated the special session on The Strategic Role of North Korea at the 9th World Knowledge Forum hosted by Maeil Business Newspaper. He introduced the keynote speaker, Marcus Noland, Senior Fellow of the Institute for International economics.

    Noland presented a brief analysis of current state of the North Korean economy in regards to crop production and addressed key issues leading up to the current food shortage. He proposed that the current economic environment is "better understood as an unintended response to state failure than as a top-down reform by government". Noland expounded by describing the decline and recovery of the economy in the 1990s and the subsequent loss of revenue due to black market transactions. Further, North Korea experienced chronic balance of payments deficits due to its dependency on foreign aid.

    Noland shifted his focus from the past to the "key challenge of this year – the reemergence of pre-famine conditions." The North Korean government has made policy decisions which have diminished crop production, hindered and disconnected international aid agencies and perpetuated geopolitical provocations. The result has been a "deterioration of the economy". Available food supplies have fallen below demand in recent years and can be supported by the analysis of North Korean grain process in relation to world market values. Thus, "there is a reemergence of pathologies reminiscent of the pre-famine 1990s," argued Noland.

    Professor Thomas F. Cargill of Nevada-Reno University expanded upon Noland's arguments by drawing attention to several key issues. He stated, one "cannot separate political issues, paranoia and economics in North Korea," and analysis must be done within the framework of political economics. He asserted that North Korea would never recover from its stagnant economy unless it engages in cooperation with the rest of Asia. Professor Cargill next described the potential concerns resulting from the decision of the United States to remove North Korea from its list of terrorist states. He noted, 'North Korea has an opportunity to turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle" and challenged the government to open its market to Asia, deal more seriously with Japan, and enable both political and economic freedoms.

    Park Chan-Mo, former president of POSTEC, spoke on the theme of educating North Koreans. He quoted the adage, "do not give them fish, rather, and teach them how to fish". The Scientists of North Korea are very smart and hard working, he noted, and simply require further education, Thus,  he and others decided to found the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST).

    Park continued with some observations he had made while working with the people of North Korea during the founding of the new university. He first observed the need to establish trust with the people. Second, one needs a very high level of patience. Third, in order to develop the areas of science and technology, North Korea needed to open up. Hopefully, PUST would help establish this trust and open up this hermit nation.

    Kim Chin Kyung, President of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, stressed the need to develop relations with North Korea by any means possible, believing, that "the future will be brighter if we put our hands together".

    When China opened its doors in 1979, Kim realized that what was needed was a university to satisfy a populace hungry for education. A few years later a university was founded to fulfill this purpose, and became a successful model for cooperation. Now, he is trying the same model with North Korea, and has founded the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

    Kim concluded that Asia needed a union, similar to the European model, and that this union would not be possible without the inclusion of North Korea to bridge gap between North and South East Asia. He hoped that his new university would be a first step to attaining that goal.

    Donald Johnston, former Secretary-General of OECD, gave a brief statement urging for a full, comprehensive assessment on North Korea. Without this study, nations would be unwilling to provide development aid to the country, since the donors would be unsure of what was being developed. Last, Johnston noted that "someone needs to convince North Korea that this [study] is necessary".

    The question and answer session involved questions concerning North Korea's possible collapse in light of Kim Jong II's poor health. None of the panelists believed that North Korea's would collapse, even in the event of his death, and that eventually their political system would stabilize.

    The staff of the World Knowledge Forum wrote this report

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    Opening ceremony of the 9th World
    Knowledge forum at Seoul, Korea:
    Oct 15, 2008;
    President Lee Myung-bak, left, shakes
    hands with a foreign participant at the
    opening ceremony of the ninth World
    Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Korea
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