In an essay in the Sydney Morning Herald, AIIA member Hamish McDonald explores a range of possibilities. Apart from the possibility of change within the Pyongyang regime itself, there are the complex attitudes and strategic interests of the various powers involved in on-off talks to bring peace to the Korean peninsula and persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
China fears a surge of refugees across its border if hostilities break out and worries that the United States could gain a foothold on its border. Japan is uneasy about the industrial muscle of a united Korea while other countries see investment and market opportunities. No one, however, wants to see a destabilisation of the peninsula – how the DPRK manages itself under its new leadership and how the regional powers engage the regime is crucial to this end.
Few expect any change to happen quickly. The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) in Sydney has assembled a panel of experts to discuss one of the top agenda items of 2012.
Joining us will be Dr. Leonid Petrov, lecturer in Korean studies at the University of Sydney and Korean scholar who trained at the Institute of Oriental Studies in St Petersburg. Prof. Petrov has also held the chair in Korean studies at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.
Mack Williams was Australia’s ambassador in Seoul at the time of the last North Korean handover. Mr Williams is a former president of the AIIA in Sydney and chairman of the board of the UTS Insearch program. He also chairs the Korea-Australasian research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
Professor Peter Hayes from the Nautilus Institute will join us by video link from San Francisco. Prof. Hayes’ paper on North Korea has attracted international attention.
Date: Tuesday, 21 February, 2012
Time: Refreshments 6:00 pm; Presentation 6:30 pm – 7.30pm
Venue: The Australian Institute of International Affairs invites you to, The Glover Cottages, 124 Kent Street, Sydney (located adjacent to the Kent St Fire Station)
Cost: AIIA members $15; Senior members / students $10;
Visitors $20; Senior Visitors $15; Student Visitors: $10
Payment may be made at the door by cash/cheque/credit card