FNF-IFES International Conference on “North Korea International: (Re)Evaluating, (Re)Viewing, and (Re)Connecting in a COVID World”
On the 7th October 2020, the Friedrich Nauman Foundation Korea and the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University held their annual international conference on North Korea. This year ́s topic was “North Korea International: (Re)Evaluating, (Re)Viewing, and (Re)Connecting in a COVID World”. In the opening session Dr. Christian Taaks, the Head of FNF Korea Office and Director of IFES, Dr. Lee Kwan-sei pointed out the importance of this conference in times like these , where the exchange of knowledge about North Korea getting more difficult through the isolation of this state.
This conference was split in two sessions. The first session, “North Korea International: Re-evaluating Relations and Sanctions", was led by Prof. Hwang Jihwan. June Park, first showed the background of timeline of sanctions, where UNSC and the US played a significant role by implementing sanctions. Prof. Koo Kab-Woo also added that sanctions is the last device for an interstate dialogue. Prof. Leif-Eric Easley from Ewha Womans University mentioned the trilateral cooperation among ROK, DPRK and USA and the possibility for a peaceful cooperation under the Status-Quo of each state. The next presentation of this session was held by Tereza Novotna from Berlin, who showed few proposals on what the EU can, and should, offer to do regarding the role of the EU on the Korean peninsula.
The 2nd session, “(Re)Viewing North Korea to Build the Foundation for Future Exchanges”, was introduced by the sessions panel chair, Prof. Dean Ouellette, the Vice Director of IFES. This session started with the history of North Korean humanitarian crisis and its partly overcoming through international humanitarian aid in the past twenty-five years. Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings opened the discussion about how to learn from North Koreas aid history and how to overcome the current problems on a long term. The next speakers were Kang Hayun, Christopher McCarthy and James Banfill. Each of the speakers introduced their research field from ICT to Biodiversity, last but not least the experience of living and working in North Korea as a foreigner.
This year has been special and new for everyone, with difficulties and barriers to overcome, as well as for this international conference. Due to the COVID19 measures the conference was livestreamed via youtube and no audience was allowed in the event hall. We, the Team-FNF, hope that this conference was nevertheless an interesting event for the online audience. We want to thank again for the speakers, the penal and especially the Institution of Far Eastern Studies.