Int. Conference: Engaging North Korea: Experience and New Directions
On November 28th, more than 130 people joined the international conference „Engaging North Korea: Past Experience and New Directions“, hosted by FNF Korea and the Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) of Kyungnam University. Our two institutions have enjoyed a very fruitful cooperation since 10 years and will cooperate for many more years to come.
The conference brought together experts and scholars to assess the past twelve months of political outreach, illuminate chances and constraints as well as discuss new directions for engagement with North Korea. The first session was looking on the broader picture, including a review of the diplomatic changes in 2018, stakeholder interests in the region and economic considerations. In the second session “soft” approaches towards North Korea were debated, such as sports exchanges and tourism.
There are no easy solutions with North Korea and very different view points exist. The presenters as well as the audience participated in lively debates about which approaches can be realistic and where we should remain skeptical. The main take-away of the conference was that there is no alternative to engagement and that cooperation is the way forward. Nevertheless it is necessary to realistically assess constraints and focus on ways of engagement that have the greatest spillover effect and that can induce positive change and further diplomatic normalization. We thank all the participants for their great contributions and participating in the interesting discussions.