Director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California said that if U.S. relations with North Korea come to a halt, history will repeat itself.
Ahead of Dr. David Kang’s speech “Facing Nuclear North Korea,” he warns that threats of war and intimidation could resurface if United States officials eventually end discussion between the president of the U.S. and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“Kim Jong-un is going to be leader of Korea for the next 40 years,” Kang said. “So he’s trying to engage with other nations to make a change. If the conversation with him ends, we would go back to the same fear level we had 70 years ago.”
The tension between the two countries has always been prominent throughout administrations. President Trump and Kim Jong-un held a summit in Singapore last June where the reported focus was on denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula.
A joint statement was signed by both leaders which guaranteed new peaceful agreements and a follow-up negotiation. The next summit between the two was confirmed during Trump’s second State of the Union which will be held Feb. 27 in Vietnam.
“A long-term strategy is being set by Kim Jong-un,” Kang said. “There’s always been a tense relationship between America and North Korea but war is unlikely, the cost is too high. Both sides eventually want peace.”
Prior to this, North Korean officials launched several missiles into the Sea of Japan and other surrounding areas in 2017.
“When the missiles were launched, that’s when I thought we needed to have some kind of a campus-wide dialogue about this,” said Taehyun Kim, assistant professor of journalism at CSUN. “I felt compelled to bring (Dr. Kang) to campus so students could get educated on North Korea.”
When asked why Kang should speak on this matter, Kim said he is neutral when taking sides on such a dense topic. Having someone illustrate an unbiased knowledge of international relations and global politics was important to Kim when deciding to ask Kang to speak on campus.
“I had to make it happen,” said Kim.
Kang’s speech “Facing Nuclear North Korea” will be held in the Ferman Presentation Room at the Oviatt Library on Thursday, Feb. 7 where Kang will focus on putting the diplomacy between North Korea, South Korea and the United States in comprehensive terms while analyzing American depictions of Kim Jong-un and North Korea as a country.
“I aim to provide a better understanding of North Korea to students,” Kang said. “North Korea isn’t a nuclear country, it’s a real country with real people and hopefully my insight can end the stereotypes.”