Professor Oh Joon, based on his experience as the Republic of Korea’s permanent representative to the United Nations from 2013-16 and a member the UN Security Council in 2013-14, will present his views on the current status of the efforts to denuclearise North Korea. Despite the initial excitement over the historic June summit in Singapore between the leaders of the United States and the DPRK, progress seems very slow and there are even some signs of regress. Both sides criticise each other for not implementing the agreements of the Singapore summit. For some people, this might be only déjà vu from the broken-down nuclear deals of 1994 and 2005. But, to be fair, it should be different this time, as North Korea is under the tough international sanctions that block Pyongyang from seeking an economic breakthrough. What is at stake now in this never-ending game? Does history move forward or repeat itself?
About the speaker
Oh Joon is a professor of United Nations studies at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea. He is also Chair of Save the Children Korea Board and a visiting professor at the KDI School of Public Policy and Management.
Previously he was a diplomat of the Republic of Korea. He served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York from 2013 to 2016. During this time, he also served as the 71st President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as President of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2015 and 2016. Before that, he was Korean Ambassador to Singapore from 2010-13 and Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul from 2008-10.
His other international activities include those as a member of the High Level Panel on the Future of Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 2016-17; a member of the Korea Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from 2010-13; the Chair of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) in 2006; and the Chair of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) from 2004-05.
The ROK Government awarded him an Order of Service Merit twice, in 1996 and 2006. In 2014, he received the Youngsan Diplomat Award for his work on North Korean human rights issues. Rehabilitation International awarded him the Global Presidential Award in 2016 in acknowledgment for his achievements as President of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He published his first book in Korean “For Mica, Who Contemplates Life” in 2015.
He received a Master’s degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford University (1991-92). He is married with two children.