The First Forum for the Reconciliation of the Korean People
The CBCK Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (President: Most Rev. Lucas Kim Woon-hoe) held a forum entitled “Kim Jong-un Regime, now in North Korea?” at the auditorium of the CCK on March 6, 2012.
The Committee prepared this forum to have a prospect for inter-Korean relations in the post-Kim Jong-il era and to help public understanding of the preparation for reunification.
The forum proceeded under three topics as follows: The power succession process in North Korea, its features and prospects; Kim Jong-un regime and the attitudinal changes of North Koreans; the international relations of the Kim Jong-un regime: concentrated on China.
The first speaker, Mr. Peter Lim Eul-chul, a research professor of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Kyungnam University, pointed out the features of the power succession of Kim Jong-un, such as the improvised high-speed succession; idolizing him by means of media and mass rallies; following his father’s ‘son-gun’ (military first) policy, aiming at a strong and prosperous country. Lim predicted that Kim Jong-un will strengthen economic cooperation with Russia and China, to cope with sanctions of the international community due to the nuclear problem, as well as to maintain his regime and to overcome economic hardships. For this, Lim added, “North Korea is expected to join the international dialogue, such as the Six-Party Talks and to expand trade with China rather than have military provocation.”
The second speaker, Ms. Hellen Im Soon-hee, a senior research fellow of the Korea Institute of National Unification, said that the North Koreans are going through a change of attitude as they depend on the market rather than on the government due to continuous economic hardships. As a result, she continued, the North Koreans’ national pride and the confidence in their leader seem to be weakening more and more. This change makes them have a positive view of South Korean society and culture and brings a new recognition of China, with the need and focus on opening up to the outside world.
Finally, Mr. John Lee Young-hun, a senior research fellow of SK Research Institute for SUPEX Management, made his presentation focused on the economic cooperation between North Korea and China and the aspects of risk of North Korea. Lee estimated that the economic cooperation between the two countries helps North Korea to sustain its isolated regime and marketization, but it does not make a great contribution to improve the economic situation of North Korea. He anticipated that their future economic cooperation will be expanded thanks to the support of China, reflecting mutual and close interest not only from the economic point of view but also from the political and military one.
This forum was a place to help the public to understand the rapidly changing situation on the Korean Peninsula and to cope more effectively with the movements for the reconciliation and unity of the Korean people, aid to the North, etc.