North Korea: Is Change Afoot?

Are there genuine signs of positive change in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea under the country’s new leadership? That’s the question Victor Cha, a noted authority on North Korea, will address in a brown-bag presentation at the East-West Center on Monday, August 19, 2013.

image: Kim Jong-unWhen Kim Jong-un succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, the junior Kim seemed young, inexperienced, and unqualified. Eighteen months later, he appears to be riding high in Pyongyang. His regime’s new ways include promulgating high heels and miniskirts for women, commissioning amusement parks and (pirated) Walt Disney productions for children, and hosting former NBA player Dennis Rodman. At the same time, the regime has overseen a series of missile and nuclear tests and threatened the United States with nuclear annihilation.

Is Kim Jong-un a modern ruler or are he and his entourage ridiculously out of touch? Is there any semblance of constructive or positive change afoot in this country under this new leadership? Those are the main topics for Cha’s presentation from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. in Burns Hall 3012 on August 19.

image: Victor ChaVictor Cha holds the D.S. Song-Korea Foundation Chair in Government and Asian Studies at Georgetown University, where he is director of the East Asia National Resource Center and the new M.A. program in Asian studies. He formerly served on the National Security Council staff as director of Asian affairs, and as the U.S. deputy head of delegation for the Six Party talks. His new book is The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Ecco, 2013). Cha is also a POSCO visiting fellow at the East-West Center.