After the “successful” launch on 12 December 2012 of yet another rocket in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, the threat posed by North Korea appears ever more real. The stability of the Korean peninsula is not just a regional concern but also an issue for Europe, given the proliferation relationship between North Korea and Iran. How have political developments in the peninsula affected recent relations between the two Koreas? Can there be any easing of tensions between them under the new South Korean leader, Park Geun hye? There are various reasons why multilateral engagement with, and coercion of, North Korea have failed to promote denuclearisation. Thomas Plant of ICSA, King’s College London, will consider if there is potential for progress, and look at Japan’s likel contribution under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Noriyuki Shikata, Political Minister at th Japanese Embassy in London, will discuss Japan’s perspective on the recent situation in the Korean Peninsul and explore the collaboration among Japan, the US, the UK, South Korea and China aimed at tackling the issue. The seminar will be chaired by Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Noriyuki Shikata is Political Minister at the Embassy of Japan in the UK. He was Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Director of Global Communications at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Japan (2010-2012). He was international media spokesperson at the PMO, always accompanying the Prime Minister’s trips overseas. He was the recipient of 2011 Gold Standard Award for Political Communications, at awards hosted by Public Affairs Asia. He graduated from the Law Department of Kyoto University in 1986. After entering MOFA in 1986, he worked at the Korea Desk, and graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, completing its Masters in Public Policy Program (International Affairs/Security) in 1989. His previous overseas postings include the Embassy in Washington, D.C.(1989 – 91), and the Delegation to the OECD in Paris(1999-2002). Between 2004 and 2010, he was Director of Status of U.S. Forces Agreement Division, Director of International Press Division, Director in Charge ofEconomic Relations with North America, and Director of Economic Treaties Division, International Legal Affairs, Bureau of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). His publications include Energy Policy of the Republic of Korea (2002: IEA; contributor), amongst others.
Thomas Plant is Research Fellow at the International Centre for Security Analysis (ICSA), King’s College London. His main research interest is in North Korean issues, though he also works on wider regional security in East Asia and, more broadly, on nuclear non proliferation and disarmament. He joined ICSA on secondment from the Ministry of Defence; he has also spent time at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he worked on proliferation issues in the Middle East and East Asia.
Mark Fitzpatrick (Chair) is Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. His programme focuses on nuclear and missile challenges posed by Iran, North Korea and other outlier states, and on nuclear security and nuclear disarmament issues. He is the editor of North Korean Security Challenges (July 2011) and of five other IISS Strategic Dossiers on countries and regions of proliferation concern. He has lectured throughout the world and is a frequent media commentator on proliferation topics. He joined the IISS in October 2005 after a 26-year career in the US Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation (acting). He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and he attended a one-year post-graduate study programme (1990 1991) at the Japanese National Institute of Defence, where his dissertation on Korean unification was published in journals in Japan and South Korea.