October 14, 2019

North Korea Under the New Kim

A Panel Discussion sponsored by the OPC, Liberty in North Korea, Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and supported by The Korea Society will feature a distinguished panel on Monday, December 3.

The new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, is at a crossroads. He has suggested he will introduce economic reforms and improve the lives of his people, offering tantalizing glimpses of Disney characters and modern fashion. Yet he has not followed through. In fact, accounts of defectors suggest that he is actually tightening internal controls as part of a vast slave-state in which millions of people are still hungry and many are imprisoned in the gulag. Will Kim emerge as a later-day Mikhail Gorbachev committed to reform and reconciliation with the outside world? How will he manage a dependent relationship with China? What leadership changes in China, South Korea, Japan and possibly the U.S. mean for the world’s most heavily militarized conflict zone? Most importantl, how long can Kim’s regime last? Some of these issues were noted at an AP panel on October 19 (see page 3) and the OPC will continue the dialog with the following panelists:

  • Hannah Song is president and chief executive officer of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), which has brought 117 North Korean defectors out of China. LiNK is the only full-time grassroots organization in North America devoted to North Korean human rights. LiNK, headquartered in Southern California, provides protection and aid to North Korean refugees hiding in China and routes them through a modern-day underground railroad through Southeast Asia to their final destinations.
  • Stephen Noerper is senior vice president of The Korea Society. He has spent more than two and a half decades in non-profits, academia, the private sector and public service. He has served with the U.S. State Department, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development and was associate professor of international relation at New York University.
  • Sue Mi Terry is a former U.S. intelligence analyst who is now Senior Managing Director of Gerson Global Advisors and a senior research scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, where she teaches a course on Korean Politics. She has served as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She also served as the Asia Director at the National Security Council (NSC) under both Presidents Bush and Obama. Prior to joining the NSC, she served as a Senior Analyst on Asia issues in the Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Melanie Kirkpatrick, formerly of The Wall Street Journal and author of Escape From North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia’s Underground Railroad, will moderate. She is currently a writer and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington. She had a long career at The Wall Street Journal, where her positions included running the op-ed page, editing the editorials, and serving as deputy editor of the editorial page.
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    The panel discussion on North Korea on December 3 will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. and program at 6:30 p.m. at Club Quarters, 40 West 45 Street. Admission is free, but reservations are essential. Call the OPC at 212-626-9220 or e-mail.