Crafting North Korean Policy for Inter-Korean Peace

CEU Community + Invited Guests
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Popper room
Monday, January 25, 2016 - 1:00pm
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Monday, January 25, 2016 - 1:00pm

ABSTRACT| This presentation is about crafting inter-Korean peace through democratization of North Korea andguaranteeing inter-Korean peace internationally. First, the so called “collapse theory” is questioned. Despite many predictions of collapse of North Korean regime, North Korean dictatorial regime has shown exceptional durability and survivability. Indeed, Institutionalization of dictatorship is the key to the longevity and survivability of North Korean dictatorship. Therefore, it is unrealistic to prepare the reunification based on the collapse theory of North Korean dictatorship. The cost of reunification by military conflict is astronomical for both South and North Koreans. In this context, the only option for reunification is a peaceful settlement. Two Koreas must make inter-Korean peace before they talk about reunification. To achieve lasting, sustainable inter-Korean peace system, crafting the democratic transition in North Korea is the primary goal before building inter-Korean peace. However, exogenous democratizations in North Korea, such as 'control,' 'conditionality,' 'consent,' and 'contagion' have been attempted but failed. So the only feasible option for democratization in North Korea is endogenous democratization, Kim Jong Un and ruling elites choose and make democratic transition with the model of “Conceding to Thrive.” The model crafts democracy in North Korea with three steps: First, if Kim Jong Un and his KWP have both “victory confidence” and “stability confidence.” Second, when Kim and his KWP have “victory confidence” at the center of power and mass-based institution, “stability confidence" gives them political safety in post-democratic transition. Finally, at "Bittersweet Spot" North Korean elites chose to concede, and international community, including South Korea, provide sufficient incentives to Kim and his ruling elites in return for their democratic concession, such as economic assistance to make structural reforms and helping North Korean elites to increase “Victory Confidence” under democratic competition. In nutshell, at the “bittersweet spot”, North Korean elites can be incentivized to concede to democracy if external forces assure their strong possibility to remain in office rather than simply guarantee and bribe their peaceful exit.


BIO | Hyug Baeg Im received his MA and PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. He went on to serve as an EC Member, IPSA, acted as Dean of the Graduate School of Policy Studies, the Director of Institute for Peace Studies and the Director of BK21 Research Corps at Korea University. He has been a professor at Ehwa Womans University and has also served as a presidential adviser of the president Kim Dae Jung, Roh Moo Hyun and Lee Myung Bak. He has taught at Georgetown University, Duke University, Stanford University and conducted research at National Endowment for Democracy and USKI, Johns Hopkins University SAIS. He has received numerous honors and merits, most notably; the Order of Service Merit from ROK Government, the Best Academic Award from Korean Political Science Association, and the Best Academic Award 2015 from National Academy of Science, ROK.