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Presidential adviser, Chung-in Moon Gives Special Insight Into Korean Peacemaking Process

20 Dec, 2018 KDIS News Center 1,144

  • Chung-In Moon. photo by

KDI School hosted a special lecture on November 14 by Prof. Chung-in Moon, Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security to the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in. More than 100 students attended the remarkable lecture which focused on the theme ‘Dealing with North Korea: Implications for Peace-making in Korea’.

The agreement between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea reached at the meet in Panmunjom Village on April 27 last brought about an unexpected transformation of relationships on the Korean peninsula. Both countries agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

This miraculous moment of an inter-Korean declaration also held out a new hope of unification, peace and common prosperity and laid the foundations for the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.

It was in this context that the seminar covered key points and the historical background of negotiations between North Korea and South Korea. Prof. Chung-in Moon, in his lecture, provided an overview of the long and controversial relationships since the 1990s between North Korea and South Korea and the US. He focused on the many negotiations and diplomatic summits that had taken place under the auspices of UN between the US and South Korea. The advisor also gave a brief overview about North Korea’s military capabilities and the history of the missile testing process.

Acknowledging that there was “no other option but a comprehensive package resolution” for denuclearization, Prof. Moon stressed the need to recognize that the implementation of denuclearization would take time and require a step-by-step approach.

Prof. Moon also set forth 4 key lessons as the main principles in the negotiations with North Korea.

Two-way understanding and trust-building should serve as the basic guiding principle. President Moon Jae In used a more proactive diplomacy to engage with the North Korean leader which resulted in the first three rounds of inter-Korean summits since 2000,” he pointed out.

He suggested that instead of excessively demonizing North Korea, we should see North Korea as it is and listen to what it wants. Positive reinforcement might work better than crime and punishment. Prof. Moon also emphasized that top priority be given to the resolution of the nuclear and missile issues while dealing with North Korea.

Heedoh Roh (MPM 2018, South Korea), one of the participants in the seminar, sharing his impressions noted that, “It was a unique opportunity to learn about international politics especially regarding relations between South Korea and North Korea. In my opinion, Chung-in Moon as an idealist sees the current situation optimistically, and he has a strong belief that everything will go smoothly. But speaking realistically, negotiations between the US and North Korea are consuming a lot of time. I think the path of negotiations is slower than we expected. It has steadily increased the pessimism about the negotiations. I personally believe that national security is about being aware of and prepared for negative consequences in advance. If things always go idealistically, we do not need to talk about national security. From my perspective and my own expectations, I want him to be more realistic and give more straight directions which cover the negative scenarios also and not only the positive ones.”

Another student of KDIS from Eritrea, Tesfabrhan Michael (MPP 2018) felt that getting a chance to attend Prof. Moon’s lecture was a great way to enlarge his understanding of the relationship between North Korea and South Korea. “I have never been happier than on April 27 when the sun rose smiling down over the demilitarized frontier. And since then, I have been tuned in to the developments but nowhere could I get overt updates about it than at the enlightening lecture by Prof. Moon. He is such a well-expressed and eminent presenter giving out firsthand information. Sometimes, I am sick of the media’s interest-laden downplaying of stories and bookish analysis. Indeed, the seminar has helped me to engage with the witty philosophy and assertive energy of the personalities at the Blue House that took the peace process to new vistas. In a nutshell, I am quite hopeful about its progress but it is a demanding assignment in terms of orchestrating the actors involved.”

Following the lecture, the students also participated in a lively Q&A session, discussing issues such as the strategic significance of North Korea’s outdated nuclear facilities and the impact and possible outcomes of Korean reunification.

The students who attended the seminar have a high level of interest in the area of international relations and cooperation and so it was an excellent opportunity to understand the various aspects of the North and South Korean imbroglio as enunciated by an expert.

In conclusion, Special Advisor Chung mentioned that the US should realize both North Korea’s capabilities and the real threats. Both sides need to revise their expectations to reach a win-win outcome and South Korea is playing a key role as facilitator to make this happen, he added.

Kim Jong Il(left) and Chung In Moon(Right) at The South – North Korean summit   in 2007. (photo :

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