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“The Conditions for Engaging North Korea” Asia Institute Seminar with Jon Huntsman

“The Conditions for Engaging North Korea”

Asia Institute Seminar with Jon Huntsman

Former Governor of Utah & Republican candidate for President

9th April 2012



Jon Huntsman

American politician, businessman, and diplomat

Former United States Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China

Former Governor of Utah

Former Republican candidate for the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary


Emanuel Pastreich


The Asia Institute

(Associate Professor, Kyung Hee University)

Emanuel Pastreich:

I wanted to ask you about the prospects for engagement with North Korea from your perspective as someone who has been intimately involved in the diplomatic debate concerning the future of North Korea. The question is not so much about the latest misdeed of North Korea, but rather about what the long-term prospects are. After all, if we want to solve the problem, we must move beyond the latest news cycle.

Many Koreans are confused because, on one hand there has been times of great efforts to engage with North Korea and these have been generally frustrated, and on the other hand there have been efforts to take a harder line towards North Korea at other times, and these efforts also, although they have been successful in some respects, haven’t resolved the problem either.  The question of what to do about North Korea has become a major issue in Korea today.  What do you think is the long term solution to this problem?

Jon Huntsman:

I am not sure we can find an easy answer when we are working with regime that is willing to put everything on the line in maintaining the status quo, in repressing its people with unprecedented cruelty and in saber rattling that sends tremors through the whole region.  I am one person who feels that nothing is going to happen in the short term with North Korea because we find ourselves in the middle of a transition right now and such political transitions always bring out unpredictable behavior from those in power. Read more of this post