A Paradigm Shift: A Possible North Korean State and Reverse Kissinger Strategy

Colloquium: Center for Korean Studies: Institute of East Asian Studies | October 15 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Professor Youngjun Kim, Korea National Defense University

 Center for Korean Studies (CKS), Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco

Free and Open to the Public | Wheelchair Accessible | Refreshments Provided

The situation of the Korean Peninsula has rapidly changed over the last few months. U.S. President Trump, ROK President Moon and Chairman Kim of North Korea agreed on peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Not surprisingly, many people and experts all over the world still have skeptical views on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Professor Youngjun Kim will provide a new interpretation on today’s Korean Peninsula issue by explaining forgotten and ignored stories of North Korean history and North Korean ordinary people. Professor Kim argues that it is time to change a totalitarian school of North Korea (a stereotype on 1%-99% North Korean society) and a myth on China-North Korean relations. In this historical and political context, motivations and strategic objectives of the Chairman Kim Jong Un are mainly two factors: Firstly, Kim wants his long-term political survival by strengthening a wide political support from North Korean middle class like his grandfather’s political strategy in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Secondly, Kim wants to be politically, economically and psychologically independent from China. It was not only hopes of political leaders, his grandfather and father, but also ones of North Korean ordinary people. President Trump intentionally or unintentionally would benefit from this situation by conducting a so-called “reverse Kissinger’s strategy”. Today’s Korean Peninsula situation would be a greater strategic choice for all players than wait-and-see sanctions-collapse theory and bloody nose attacks.

About Professor Youngjun Kim:

Dr. Youngjun Kim is a Professor of National Security Affairs at National Security College of the Korea National Defense University (KNDU) and is the author of Origins of the North Korean Garrison State: People's Army and the Korean War published by Routeldge in 2017. He is Senior International Research Fellow of the U.S. Army's think tank, Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Fort Leavenworth and a member of ROK-US Combined Forces Commander's (CFC) Strategic Shaping Board (CSSB). As a policy advisor, he has advised for the ROK President's Office, National Security Council, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Unification and he is an official reviewer for Government Performances on Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Unification at the Prime Minister's Office. He works as a director of the Security and Defense Section of the Korea International Studies Association, a research director for the Korea Defense Policy Association and Korea Nuclear Policy Society. He has frequently appeared as an expert presenter on security and North Korean issues for Fox News TV, Arirang TV, Defense TV and national newspapers.

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