Hostility between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been the central security challenge of Northeast Asia for the past seventy-five years. Over the past several decades, while the tensions between the US and DPRK have spiked up and down, the fundamental premise of the Washington-Pyongyang relations remains the same. That is, how much nuclear capacity should North Korea give up for how much normalisation of relations with the United States and the rest of the world. The basic elements of the several deals—from the Agreed Framework in 1994 to the six-party talks agreement in 2005 to the deal discussed in Singapore two years ago, when Donald Trump became the first American president to meet with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, are the variations on the same deal. In this talk, Amb Joseph Yun will examine the current standoff between the US and DPRK and assess whether a genuine improvement of the relations is possible.
About the Speaker
Joseph Y. Yun, recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on relations with North Korea, as well as broader US-East Asia policy, most recently served as Special Representative for North Korea Policy. Currently, he is Senior Advisor with The Asia Group, a DC-based strategic consulting firm, and the U.S. Institute of Peace, an independent and non-partisan federal institute working on peace and reconciliation issues throughout the globe. He is also a Global Affairs Commentator for the CNN. Yun’s 33-year diplomatic career has been marked by his commitment to face-to-face engagement as the best avenue for resolving conflict and advancing cross-border cooperation. As Special Representative on North Korea from 2016 to 2018, Ambassador Yun led the U.S. efforts to align regional powers behind a united policy to denuclearize North Korea. He was instrumental in reopening the “New York channel,” a direct communication line with officials from Pyongyang. As Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2011-2013), Yun led efforts to normalize diplomatic relations with Myanmar. Yun also served as Ambassador to Malaysia (2013-16). Before joining the Foreign Service, Yun was a senior economist for Data Resources, Inc., in Lexington, Massachusetts. He holds a M. Phil. degree from the London School of Economics and a BS from the University of Wales.