On 23 August, RSIS and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in Singapore co-hosted a workshop on “Understanding the Dynamics of the Korean Peninsula since the First Trump-Kim Summit” at the Marina Mandarin Singapore. Amb Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of RSIS, and Amb Ahn Young-jip, Ambassador of the ROK to the Republic of Singapore, delivered the opening remarks. Participants who attended the workshop included officials and scholars from the ROK, as well as Singapore based analysts and academics.
The discussion focused on assessing the situation on the Korean Peninsula over the past year, and the perspectives of key regional actors on the issue. Broadly, two contrasting views emerged over the progress on denuclearisation talks between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States. One group opined that despite the stalled negotiations, the window of opportunity for a breakthrough remained, and the ROK would continue playing an active role in maintaining the momentum for dialogue. Meanwhile, the other group were of the view that denuclearisation talks may become a road leading to nowhere, given the ambiguity over the DPRK’s intentions and the uncertainty regarding a post-Trump US policy towards the DPRK.
For the foreseeable future, nevertheless, the ROK government hoped to shift the paradigm on the Korean Peninsula from one of confrontation to one of dialogue and peace. In this regard, other actors, including China, Russia, Japan, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), were urged to take on constructive roles to sustain the peace-building process in the Korean Peninsula. The ROK government’s New Southern Policy was also briefly discussed, as participants noted Seoul’s past achievements in terms of regional architecture building and expressed hope that the New Southern Policy may herald similar efforts.