Competing Identities: Japan, the Koreas, and Missed Opportunities – John Swenson-Wright
19 May 2014, London
Since 2011, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have all undergone important leadership transitions. Abe Shinzo, Park Geun-hye and Kim Jong-un each, in their different ways, reflect both important historical continuities and new opportunities for a breakthrough in diplomatic relations in Northeast Asia.
Notwithstanding this important change in leadership, Japan’s relationship with the Korean peninsula remains mired in controversy and the opportunities for an improvement in ties between Tokyo, Seoul and Pyongyang seem frustratingly limited. How much of this is a function of historical disputes, geopolitical tensions, or personal proclivities on the part of individual leaders? To what extent might external actors, whether the United States or China, offer a way out of the current predicament? This talk considers the current situation, drawing upon recent visits to Seoul, Tokyo and Pyongyang, and also from findings from the British archives.
In association with:SOAS