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"The Current State of Affairs on the Korean Peninsula" with John S. Park


On May 12, 2022, NBR held its sixteenth President’s Circle dialogue with our special guest, John Park, Senior Advisor at NBR and Director of the Korea Project and Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

NBR President Roy Kamphausen began with an overview of the most pressing developments in the Indo-Pacific region for the past month. He updated the audience on recent developments in the China-Solomon Islands security pact as well as the continuing efforts by the Biden administration to deepen its engagement in the South Pacific. Mr. Kamphausen then evaluated the implications of China’s “zero-Covid” policies in Shanghai and the recent ouster of Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Finally, he touched on Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s victory in the Philippines presidential election, the upcoming election contest between Labor challenger Anthony Albanese and Liberal incumbent Scott Morrison in Australia, and U.S. President Joe Biden’s plans to visit South Korea and Japan later this month.

In the second half of the event, Dr. Park discussed a variety of topics related to the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula. He shared his ongoing work on “North Korea Inc.” which assesses the manifold ways the Kim regime evades international sanctions, as well as his perspectives on the prospects of North Korean denuclearization and President Yoon’s desire to broaden South Korea’s role in the Indo-Pacific region. The subsequent discussion session featured questions from the audience regarding the likelihood of South Korea’s accession to the Quad, avenues for trilateral cooperation with Tokyo and Washington, and how Seoul views the PRC’s increasing aggression toward Taiwan.

Dr. Park joined from Cambridge while the remainder of the audience attended the dialogue virtually, calling in from across the United States and Asia.

Roy Kamphausen and John S. Park