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Suh 1 Understanding is the key to engaging North Korea, says a North Korean expert.

Word Count: 1,215 North Korean expert, Han S. Park gave a lecture called Three Generations of North Korean Leadership: Changes in Continuity at the Troy Moore Library at Georgia State University (GSU) last Saturday. The lecture attracted over 50 people, including students, professors and community members. It was a part of GSUs International Education Month. Park began the lecture by emphasizing the importance of understanding North Korea in order to prevent a military clash. I dont care what policy you use, theres no way we can accept another Korean War, Park said. Park predicted that if there happened to be a military provocation, Seoul can become a ball of fire. Pyongyang has an underground city, Park said. Having visited North Korea over 50 times, Park described Pyongyangs subway system, which could become a bomb shelter for all of Pyongyangs residents in a time of war. It spans 34 kilometers long and where the average depth is 100 meters. Pyongyangs subway is deeper than the length of an average football field. Park made a clear distinction throughout his lecture that he is not a supporter of the North Korean regime, and his interest in North Korea is a scholarly interest. Im a democrat. Im an American. I like to see freedom Park said. According to him, he is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and he is proud to be American. To suggest that North Korea might follow grassroots uprising, that is an expression of utter ignorance, Park said. In addition, according to Park, North Korea is not going to collapse. I dont like it, but its not going to collapse. Park calls North Korea a family state, where the head of the family is the location where all kinds of authorities reside. North Korea is a family of Kim Ilsung. Since in North Korea the state became a family and the family is the state, when a North Korean dies for the state, he is remaining loyal to his family, according to Park. While North Korea knows military provocation will devastate the state, individuals will continue sacrificing themselves because loyalty is so strong, according to Park. Since the armistice in 1953, in which the Soviet Union and U.S. split the Korean Peninsula into two states, North Korea has served three leaders. To Park, each of these leaders had a different assignment to accomplish. Kim Il Sung, the father of the nation was to establish legitimacy for the state and the second, Kim Jong Ils job was to beef up the military capability of North Korea to serve as a deterrence factor to other nations meddling into its affairs. The Party decided to go

Suh 2 nuclear at all costs, Park said. Now, North Koreas new leader Kim Jong Un has a new challenge of developing the economy, Park said. Indeed, Kim Jong Un highlighted the importance of building a powerful economy with the goal of unification in mind during a 2012 speech delivered at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. We will have to embark on the comprehensive construction of an economically powerful state, Kim Jong Un said, according to a translated transcript on North Korea Tech. North Korea will become an economic colony of China, Park said. Park expanded upon the economic partnership between North Korea and China. He said in a few years Chinese influence will dominate North Korea, there will be no room left over for other nations. The relationship between China and North Korea goes back to after World War II, as both are communist states. Now, [a]bout half of all North Korean trade is with China. China provides a market for 42 percent of exports and 53 percent of imports of the DPRK, according to 2011 Koreas Economy, a publication of the Korea Economic Institute and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy. As of 2013, the influence has grown, with 67.2% of all North Korean exports going to China, and 61.6% of imports into North Korea come from China, according to CIAs World Factbook. In comparison to Chinas attitude to North Korea, Park brought up how the American perspective of North Korea is harming a potential partnership. Students, think ambitiously to do something tangibly about engaging North Korea instead of demonizing it! Park said. He also alluded to a Christian practice. Park said, to those Christians in the room, were told to love our neighbors, but were never told to love our evil. Evil has to be destroyed. Like so, Park challenged the audience to define evil and questioned how people know the regime is evil. He said he believes North Korea is not a threat to the U.S., so there is no reason to portray it as one. While he recognized the state is an unconventional system, he also added, it works for them! It may look weird to us, it may look unconventional to us, but it works for them, Park said. As long as their legitimacy is not going to be questioned and as long as their security is not going to be harmed they will do anything to improve relations with Washington, Park said. North Korea wants to work with the U.S., according to Park. We can engage North Korea, Park said. He even said he believes North Korea would denuclearize completely if the U.S. were to ask them. However, Park advised, when you deal with North Korea or people like that, you have to be very careful psychoanalysts, Park said.

Suh 3 Park told a story of an U.S. ambassador who was denied entrance to North Korea. He said he told the ambassador the rejection was due to pride. In North Korea everything is to save face, Park said. If the ambassador asked to come to North Korea directly on important business, as opposed to asking to come to Pyongyang as a sidetrack to going to Beijing on important business, Park said he believes the ambassador would have been welcomed by the North Koreans. In addition, Park reminded the attenders, North Korea is already a nuclear capable state. North Koreas first nuclear weapons test was in 2006, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). North Korea will give up because they are not giving it up, Park said. There is no way we can force North Korea to cease to be a nuclear capable state. I thought it was fascinating, said Peggy Gallagher, a faculty member for Educational Psychology and Special Education at GSU. She said she had recently become interested in North Korea, and the lecture helped confirm her changing beliefs about North Korea. Park is a Public and International Affairs professor at the University of Georgia (UGA). As an expert on North Korea, he has visited North Korea one to two times a year for over a decade. He also acts as an unofficial negotiator between the United States and North Korea, according to his UGA webpage. South Korea week was from October 28 to November 1 at GSU, as part of International Education Month. Other events provided throughout the week included a discussion about U.S. policy towards Asia and a Six Party talk simulation by the Andrew Young School of Public Policy. The Southeast Korean Dance Association and Center for Pan-American Community Services (CPACS) performed samul-nori and gum-mu. GSUs Office of International Initiatives and Asian Studies Center sponsored the events.