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October 2021
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ILC Special Auxiliary Session Considers Approaches to Korea for the New U.S. Administration

North America—The special auxiliary session of the June 2021 International Leadership Conference for UPF’s North America region was titled “Biden Administration Policies and the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula.” It was accomplished with the collaboration of UPF-Europe/Middle East, as was Session 2 (“The State of Relations Between the U.S. China, and Russia”).

The June 29 session was one of nine ILC webinars that were held from June 24 to June 29 under the theme “Toward Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula: Peace and Security.” Participation included, from Russia, 7,000 views on social media.

Speakers

  • Kaeleigh Moffitt (moderator), Congressional Liaison, UPF-USA
  • Dan Burton, U.S. House of Representatives (1983–2013)
  • Harry Kazianis, Senior Director of Korean Studies, Center for the National Interest; Fellow, National Security Affairs, Potomac Foundation; Senior Fellow, University of Nottingham (UK)
  • Barthélémy Courmont, Senior Research-fellow, Institute of International and Strategic Relations, France; Assistant Professor, Catholic University in Lille, and Associate Director of Security and Defense as the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of strategic and diplomatic studies in Montreal
  • Alexander Vorontsov, Chairman, Department for Korean and Mongolian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russia Academy of Sciences; Associate Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Session Report

Ms. Moffatt welcomed the panel of guests from the United States, Russia, and France, noting that it represented the results of a strong team effort to cross national and cultural boundaries.

Hon. Dan Burton, in his time in the U.S. House of Representatives (1983-2013), has served as either the chairman or ranking member of three subcommittees: Asia and the Pacific; Middle East, Europe and Eurasia; and Africa and the Western Hemisphere. He also serves as the global co-chairman of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, one of UPF’s associations. He emphasized that we need to have a strong defense against China and North Korea, as well as a consistent foreign policy as we move from one presidential administration to another. He expressed concern that inflation could have a direct impact in defense and foreign policy.

Mr. Harry Kazianis echoed Honorable Burton’s opinion of the important relationship being formed in North Korea under Trump. This is not really a priority for the Biden administration, which as to deal with Covid-19 and many other domestic issues on their plate at this time. North Korea is not interested in relations with the United States right now. More pressing issues for North Korea are food security, typhoons and weather damage; severe environmental problems such as deforestation and overfishing; and healthcare issues, many related to the famine and starvation. 

Dr. Barthélémy espoused a European perspective. He pointed out that Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong un brought was the possibility of building a solid relationship and implementation of peace in the Korean Peninsula. But President Biden is less interested in meeting with Kim Jong un and more focused on denuclearization. He brought up the question of whether the reunification of the Koreas a good thing for China.

Dr. Alexander Vorontsov has taken part in “track 1.5" and "track 2" conferences dealing with the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and East Asia. He is the first deputy chairman of the Society for Friendship and Cultural Relations between the Russian Federation and North Korea and was awarded the Order of Friendship honor from North Korea. His presentation focused on the possible first practical steps in reunification.

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