News & Events

North Korean Threats and the outlook on the Korean Peninsula

A video conference with Ambassador Thomas Hubbard to discuss “Business Implications of Current Events in Korea”. 

by Kawon Park, MBA ’13 (5/22/13)

On April 23rd, Emerging Market Institute hosted a video conference with Ambassador Thomas Hubbard to discuss “Business Implications of Current Events in Korea”. Ambassador Hubbard is a Sr. Director for Asia from McLarty Associates (a Washington, DC – based strategic advisory firm) specialized in Asian affairs. He served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2001 to 2004 and was a principal negotiator of the 1994 Agreed Framework aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and headed the first senior level U.S. government delegation to North Korea.

Ambassador Hubbard observed that the North Korea(NK) has been taking threating postures at various times and the recent threats of conducting third nuclear test, launching three stage rockets and shutting down the Kaesong Industrial Complex could be considered as a part of NK’s tactics to gain favorable positions in negotiations with the U.S. and South Korea(SK). He also commented that the successful launch of the nuclear program is critical for NK’s young leader “Kim, Jong un” to secure his regime.  

He stated that South Korea has made great progress from the Korean War to become a major economic player, regional leader and established successful model of democracy despite the continuous threats of the NK. He expects that SK will continue to prosper with the on-going threats of NK in presence and there is little possibility for another Korean war.   

To moderate the current situations, he suggested to continue the dialogue with the NK despite the difficulties,  isolation does not work. In assessment of current leadership in NK, he does not think that Kim is acting irrational from his perspective, but seems to be not aware of the outside world and have a good understanding of the situation NK is in. 

On the question of chances of uprising, he mentioned that it is unlikely to happen as NK’s regime has successfully separated its people from the outside world for a very long time that only few people are informed about the advancement of neighboring nations to be motivated for an uprising. On Unification he believes the German way of unification, such that West Germany absorbing the East Germany, would be a good model for Korea.