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Conference on Korean Unification and U.S.-ROK Cooperation

The political landscape of Northeast Asia has undergone immense change over the past year. Four of the six members of the six-party talks have witnessed leadership transitions since December 2011, and elections are scheduled to take place in Japan and South Korea—the remaining two members—over the next several months. These transitions offer the international community a tremendous opportunity to review, recalibrate, and renew their collective efforts to achieve stability on the Korean peninsula, with the ultimate goal being the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.

As part of its ongoing work on security and alliance partnerships in Northeast Asia through the Kenneth B. and Anne H.H. Pyle Center for Northeast Asian Studies, and under the auspices of the Korea Global Forum initiative launched by the South Korean Ministry of Unification, NBR, in partnership with the Korea Institute for National Unification, convened a high-level conference in Seattle on November 27, 2012, to discuss the implications of Korean reunification for the U.S.-ROK alliance, and for the greater Asia-Pacific region.

The discussion included experts from South Korea and the United States and touched on a wide range of issues, including: policy toward North Korea following the U.S. and ROK presidential elections, the current political and economic situation in the DPRK, strategic rebalancing and the Korean peninsula, the strategic implications of Korean reunification, and strategies to prepare for and promote reunification. All of these topics were examined within the context of the future of the U.S.-ROK alliance.