In association with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, and with its generous support, on 15 June, the ANU Korea Institute hosted a one-day Symposium on the future of the Korean peninsula, security in the region, and Korea-Australia relations. Recent developments on the Korean peninsula are promising an end to a stalemate in peace negotiations between North and South. But the political and economic implications for the two Koreas and their allies are enormous and they are challenging alliances.
Following a brief introduction by Roald Maliangkay, Director of the ANU Korea Institute, H.E. Baek-Soon Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, welcomed the approximately one hundred audience members and formally opened the Symposium. The first speaker, Shin-wha Lee (Korea University), spoke on the recent developments in light of political alliances and economic agreements, while William Tow (ANU) focused on US deterrence strategies, and the implications of the developments to the US-ROK alliance. Justin Hastings (Sydney University) discussed the future of non-proliferation in regard to Australia and Korea by detailing, among other things, the international trade in nuclear components, while by discussing North Korean literature, Ruth Barraclough (ANU) reminded the audience that North Korea ought no longer to be considered that great unknown. Leonid Petrov (International College of Management in Sydney), then, provided a detailed overview of the relationship Australia has had with both North and South Korea. In the afternoon, Min Hyoung Park (Korea National Defense University) spoke on the security framework in Northeast Asia, while Lauren Richardson (ANU) analysed the role of the Korea-Australia partnership in the region. Sheryn Lee (Macquarie University) closed the session with a sharp analysis of changes in the Northeast Asian balance of power. Jae-Jeok Park (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies) considered security-related cooperations between the ROK and Australia in the Indo-Pacific noting, among other things, the issues on which South Korea is unlikely to compromise in regard to its alliance with the US, while David Hunt (Deakin University) compared the status of the two nations as middle powers, and the role they can each play in the Trump era.
The ANU Korea Institute wishes to thank all those who attended, as well as the speakers, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, and Ms Yanhong Ouyang, ANU’s Project Officer of Strategic Partnerships.