Seminar (2 Dec): North Korea and North-East Asian security: Reconciling conflicting national interests

Dr Markus Bell, Professor Kerry Brown, Dr Jim E Hoare, Dr Tat Yan Kong, Dr John Nilsson-Wright, and Professor Hazel Smith

Date: Saturday, 2 December 2017

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: SWLT

Organisers: British Association of Korean Studies and the SOAS Centre of Korean Studies

This event is free and open to the public. Seats will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.
For more information: Website and Contact email 
The ongoing Korea security crisis brings a threat of war that would necessarily involve the world’s major powers – some, like the United States, China, Japan and Russia, which have a direct stake in north-east Asian security – and others like the UK, which would likely mobilise in support of its ally, the United States in the event of war. The unresolved crisis therefore risks global war.
The ongoing Korean crisis is complicated by the multiplicity of interests and constraints, located in domestic politics and the international arena, that both constrain and offer opportunities for political leadership to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means.
Avoiding the over-simplification of much reporting on the Korean crisis, this seminar addresses both the idiosyncratic national interests and the potential commonalities of the major players in the Korean crisis. The discussion will be led by Prof Hazel Smith, a leading expert in the field of North Korea, who will be joined by five renowned academics.
The two hour seminar discussion will be followed by a wine reception.
Speaker Biographies
Dr Markus Bell is a lecturer in Korean and Japanese Studies, based at the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield. His current research uses ethnographic methods to examine contemporary out-migration from North Korea. He is particularly interested in the significance of multiple migrants’ memories of movement and resettlement in shaping a diasporic identity. Dr Bell is currently working on a book manuscript based on his research in Korea and Japan titled Patriotic Revolutionaries and Imperial Sympathisers: Memory, Identity and Migration to North Korea.
Professor Kerry Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College, London. From 2012 to 2015 he was Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. Prior to this he worked at Chatham House from 2006 to 2012, as Senior Fellow and then Head of the Asia Programme. From 1998 to 2005 he worked at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as First Secretary at the British Embassy in Beijing, and then as Head of the Indonesia, Philippine and East Timor Section. He lived in the Inner Mongolia region of China from 1994 to 1996. Professor Brown directed the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN) giving policy advice to the European External Action Service between 2011 and 2014. His recent publications include: The New Exmperors: Power and the Princelings in China (2014) and What’s Wrong with Diplomacy: The Case of the UK and China (2015).
Dr Jim E Hoare is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), and a Research Associate at SOAS, where he obtained his PhD in Japanese history in 1971. He joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1969 and served in the British Embassies in Seoul and Beijing. In 2001-2002, he was the first British representative in Pyongyang, DPRK. Since retirement in 2003, he has been a teacher, writer and broadcaster.
Dr Tat Yan Kong is Reader in Comparative Politics and Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, and Co-Director of the London Asia-Pacific Centre for Social Science (SOAS and King’s College). He is interested in issues of comparative and international political economy (varieties of capitalism, socialist to market transition, regional integration) with reference to East Asia (and to the Korean Peninsula in particular), and is the author of The Politics of Economic Reform in South Korea: A Fragile Miracle (London and New York: Routledge, 2000). His other publications include articles in journals such as British Journal of Political Science, Review of International Political Economy, Political Studies, New Political Economy, The Pacific Review, Economy & Society, and Politics & Society.
Dr John Nilsson-Wright is Senior Research Fellow for Northeast Asia at the Asia programme at Chatham House, and Senior University lecturer in Japanese politics and the international relations of East Asia at Cambridge University. He was head of the Chatham House Asia Programme from March 2014 to October 2016. He has a BA in PPE from Christ Church, Oxford; an MA in international relations and East Asian Studies from SAIS, Johns Hopkins; and a DPhil in international relations from St. Antony’s, Oxford.
Professor Hazel Smith is a Professorial Research Associate in the Centre of Korean Studies at SOAS and Professor Emeritus of International Security at Cranfield University. Prof Smith received her PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1993 and has held prestigious competitive fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2012/2013) and the East-West Center, Honolulu (2008 and 2015), among other institutions. She is regularly called on to advise governments, in the UK, the US and elsewhere, and is a frequent broadcaster for the global media on North Korea, where she lived and worked for United Nations humanitarian organisations for two years. Her publications include North Korea: Markets and Military Rule (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Hungry for Peace: International Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Social Change in the DPRK (2005).