Translated by Kelly Choi
Professors, graduate students and experts in Korean studies
led by director James Schoff and professor Sung-Yoon Lee
A Korea Policy study group for the scholars in Boston area has formed and held a discussion session focused on the current state of North-South relations on April 8th, with a guest speaker Dr. JUN Bong-Geun, a professor in the Department of Security and Unifications Studies at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and National Security.
Despite the large population of scholars, it is the first experts’ study group founded by professors interested in Korean studies.
The study group has been founded by James Schoff, Director of Asia-Pacific Studies, Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and Sung-Yoon Lee, a professor in Fletcher school, Tufts University,
The Korea Policy Study Group is for promoting research and dialogue regarding contemporary Korean political, security, economic, and societal issues, as well as to facilitating networking and fostering a sense of community among those in the area interested in Korean studies .
More than 20 participants attended the initial meeting including Dr. JUN Bong-Geun, the keynote speaker, James Schoff, director of Asia-Pacific studies, Prof. Sung-Yoon Lee, Prof. Walter Clemens,(Professor of Political Science, BU), Prof. Robert Art( Professor of International Relations, Brandeis University), Ronald Suleski (Professor of History and Director of the Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies, Suffolk University), Shinju Fujihira (Associate Director, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University), Agnes Ahn, M.D., Um Taeyun (Consul, ROK Consulate General Boston), Yurim Yi (Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, BU), Kenichiro Yashima (Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, BU), Ivan Rasmussen (Ph.D. candidate in International Relations, Fletcher), Yong-Min Song (Master’s candidate in International Relations, Fletcher), Yoonjeong Huh (Master’s candidate in International Relations, Fletcher), Jasmine Barrett (Master’s candidate in International Relations, Fletcher), Hanna Jang (Master’s candidate in International Relations, Fletcher), and Han Kim (Master’s candidate in International Relations, Fletcher).
“I expect the study group will grow larger. There are still a few number of scholars in New England region, willing to participate” said the consul Taeyun Um.
“The initial meeting was held at Tufts University but we expect many universities will take turns in the future. ”Prof. Sung-Yoon Lee mentioned in an interview.
In the presentation, Prof. Jun pointed out “We failed to negotiate with North Korea because North Korea requests too much, while the United States is not even ready to support”
“The arbitrary interpretation is another issues here. Even though both parties reach the agreement in the negotiation, both representatives, James A.Kelly and Kim Gye Gwan, report different messages to their own administrations. I believe this is resulted from the fact that they have their own audience and interpret arbitrary. Despite the United States and South Korea seeNorth Korea in a negative way, the foreign policy for North Korea should have been more consistent. The lack of consistency is what we might be blamed for. For example, the Bush administration disregarded the Clinton administration’s foreign policy” Prof. Jun mentioned.
“ The speech delivered the most balanced view regarding the issue among all speeches I’ve ever heard” Ronald Suleski , Director of the Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies, Suffolk University, commented.
The study group does not have strict criteria for membership, but expects serious scholars or professionals either focused on Korea-related issues or with a broader regional or functional specialty that includes a professional interest in Korea and to some extent to China, Japan, and other specialists as members.