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tv   Professors Discuss North Korea Society Ideology  CSPAN  November 29, 2021 9:02am-11:05am EST

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testing becomes the norm before people enter crowded spaces where they get together with individuals. i do think that ending on a hopeful note that we'll get to a point ideally as soon as the spring where we're able to learn to live with the pandemic so it's not the existential crisis all the time in our lives. how it portends to her aspects of public health, i'm not sure, but i know it's going to take all of us to try to turn down the temperature and really focus on what unites us, which ultimately sudden be able for everybody to have a better and brighter future. >> and let me thank you for your leadership in particular, communicating to the american public the last 18 months about the pandemic. thanks for being with us today. i want to thank the audience for your participation and questions as well. as dr. fauci said we're all in
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this together. everyone take care and stay safe over the holidays and we'll talk to you. >> thank you. >> a conversation on the multi-year year study of north korea with a look at its government, ideology is expect today start shortly from the center of streak strategic and international studies live here on c-span2. >> we'll present live analysis and award winning digital media from the eyed lab all on your
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time or on demand. this is csis on-line. >> well, good morning, everybody, good morning for our audience in the united states. good evening to our audience in korea. welcome to our program today at the csis, we hope everyone in the u.s. had a good long weekend giving thanks as we enter the holiday season. and i'm the chair at csis, professor georgetown university. i'm also director of the washington research consortium on csis which you'll learn a lot about over the next couple of hours. today we will discuss issued relate today north korea in the context of our washington research consortium on north korea. for those of you not familiar with this, it's a five year project conducted by csis with the support of the grant of
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korean studies. the consortium's research is focused on deciphering the so-called black box that is north korea. our scholars use multidisciplinary resources to gain unique insights about the country, the regime and its people. the fields, social history, diplomatic history, strategy and national security and data collection and analysis and concepts of statehood and state control involving concepts of citizenship and identity, domestic politics, and the impact of markets transnational networks and new information on society. these areas of study constitute new approaches to addressing the issues of north korea and the work that has been and will continue to be produced in this
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consortium which is an astounding five books and 15 journal articles constitute a scholarly literature that looks not as a static hold, but highly complicated and internally related challenges that post problems from regional stake holders in a globalized world. and this project started in 2016 and concludes at the end of this year. it was made possible by csis and the support of the korean studies promotion service of the economy of korean studies. and the scholars want to thank aks for its support that allowed us to work on this project. as i mentioned a minute ago. nine scores were composted of the project. i personally have been very happy to work with such a wonderful group of scholars and friends. we definitely had our challenges, most nnotably, the
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covid-19 pandemic limited our ability to review each other's work. and we were unable to gather as a group and panel that we had featured at the isa in hawaii, but we made due with several sessions by zoom instead. so now allow me to introduce the members of the consortium who are the stars of the day's show. joining us for panel one is bridgette cousins at university of california, santa barbara. bridge is a senior advisor with usc. john is a professor at the university graduate school of international studies where he serves as chair of the program on international cooperation. he's also chair of the undergraduate program in international studies at the international-- i'm sorry, at the underwood
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international college and founding director of the center on oceana studies. i did not know the last fact. and the third on the panelist, a professor of international security at northeast asia and international affairs at seoul national university. in addition to his role as professor he has advised communities including the south korean minister of national defense and unification and committee on foreign affairs and unification in north and south korea national assembly. i will introduce our guests to panel two later, but let me also say that members of the consortium today with the
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dilemmas include michael green, senior vice-president for asia and with csis and director of studies at georgetown, jackson, a senior lecturer and the university victoria and wellington and katherine moon director of political science and wasserman chair of asian studies at wellesley. normally we would have brought all of these scholars to seoul for those wrapping up the conference research done by the last resigned to doing this by zoom. so that's just a short introduction that we can see, and we brought together the scholars from korea, from the united states, and from as far as new zealand, to work on various aspects related to the black box of north korea and so, in our first session for the first hour, we're going to speak with bridgette and sun
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and john. i'd like you to give one piece of work, you've written multiple, but if you can give a brief summary of one piece of work for the project, something you've finished or something that you're continuing to work on, just a short summary so that our audience can get some sense of substantively some of the work that you all have been doing. so, why don't we start with bridgette. >> okay. hi, thank you, victor, and thank you for having us all to discuss this work. one of my favorite parts of being an academic is convening to talk about work and share ideas. so this has been incredibly frustrating not to be with everyone and i, to be in seoul
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right now, i'm jealous of co-panelists. a quick five minutes. my way of opening the black box that's north korea or kind of peering into that black box is to look at innovative methods of finding out about north korea per fundamentally important security questions. and especially regarding instability and stability in north korea. so i have two different pieces of that. the first is how is north korean weapons proliferation affected by its stability or instability, and/or regime stability or insecurity. and the second, which i'm going to talk a bit more about today in depth, is how will north korea civilians respond to dramatic instability or regime insecurity in north korea, if that's to occur.
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and so specifically, what would the scale-- i'm interested in what the scale or pace and nature of human flight might be for civilians that are facing dire effects as a result of instability within north korea. so who will cross borders into china and south korea, and under what kinds of instability scenarios. so as you might all know and you've probably certainly all know, answering this question is critical to, number one, understanding how conflict dynamics might unfold on the korean peninsula, anticipating them, and it's also, i think, something that's less paid attention to is-- it's tension for governmental and nongovernmental humanitarian questions. if it's necessary to get a lot
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of aid to border zones, well, one of the things that we're finding with migration right now is in and across europe and near the post soviet space is how do you get that kind of critical infrastructure and planning in place so that you can anticipate humanitarian needs. so those are the two things that are critical for answering this question. and in north korea, we don't expect to have access to one of the most critical drivers of these kinds of human flight and that is its internal politics, right? so the research results and estimates of flight to date have been very supervision or vague or based on scant or limited evidence. and so in my research, my team and i have taken on the wealth of information that we do know about north korea, population
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demographics, geography, topographies, its roads and rail systems, wealth, health and well-being, family size, borders, natural or otherwise, and with that information we've built a dynamic computer model, what's called an agent-based model, that can simulate, use ago number of different measures of stability and instability scenarios. what human flight might result, might likely to result in those situations and we built that model using special north korean characteristics, but using what we do know from other cases of instability and civil war and the kinds of things that motivate human flight in those situations, where they create refugees and where they create displaced
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people and we leverage past instances of instability notably the arduous march period in the mid 1990's in north korea that help us get a better draft on population as well. what are the top line findings? well, we find two different important things. on the first is that the scale and pace of potential refugee problem on the korean-- north korean border with china is much smaller than many of the point estimates to date that have been made. so we expect that china could very successfully and capably deal with any refugee problem that might result on its side of the border. the scale and pace of north korean refugees should not be so dramatic and fast than it would be incapability. the second thing we find is
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that internal displacement would be a far larger problem than existing estimates and especially prominent research by american think tanks might have anticipated and that's because we have incorporated the internal dynamics and we know a bit more about how countries and populations, like the north korean populations, that are inured to difficult circumstances for a long time might react to regime instability. so that's larger than is typically estimated, if it is discussed at all when it comes to these kinds of refugee scenario planning. thanks. >> great, thanks, bridget for the very interesting work and i'm sure we'll have questions about that. why don't we go now to
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professor who is joining us from south korea. both he and john are joining us from south korea. so thanks for joining us so late. yes. so, good morning in the d.c. or in washington and good evening here in seoul at the moment. first of all, it's good to be with you again and, yeah, i'm very sorry that you couldn't make it to seoul and as we are planning for a couple months ago. but at the moment with the new kind of virus over the world, maybe it's safe to be on this virtual event yet. i guess. i've been working on this project and focusing on how
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deal with, obviously, north korea's nuclear weapons and how to negotiate with north korea as a specialty. i have two projects that one that i have finished and published, and my second project at the moment, and speaking of my already the first one, that was tried to compare the u.s. diplomacy dealing with north korea's kim jong-un between the obama administration and the trump administration and you can see the two presidents or administrations maybe, i mean, gave us a kind of best example of two very different approach in dealing with the same
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problem under the very two different presidents and inform doing so, i tried to apply kind of very traditional theory of course for diplomacy by alexander george and also more recent work done by bruce anderson about the libyan case and tried to combine those two analytical framework of scholar into comparing how the obama strategy and versus mr. trump's strategy did or didn't work in dealing with kim jong-un and the negotiation strategy. and to sum it up, taking the case of obama, we all know that his approach was based upon strategic patience versus mr. trump as kind of approach
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in dealing with north korea and obviously, we had very different kinds of dynamics and outcomes between these two american presidents and kim jong-un. and what was the difference? when it comes to patience, we know for eight years over obama president, basically nothing happened between u.s. and north korea and north korea continuing with its nuclear. in the case of mr. trump, quite interestingly, he had true summit, if you will, including the last meeting at the meeting with kim jong-un and they had a certain kind of agreement, basic agreement about a list in kind of denuclearizing. and why the difference outcomes from all response from the
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north korea regime. and that is, i say, you know, first of all, that obviously different dealing with him and i use the example using the frame of personality, and the north korea regime for negotiations and both obama and trump had a kind of similar position when they say they didn't try to, you know, signal that they're up for the regime change, which was a kind of under the george bush administration. and when it comes to the credibility, when the united states said that there will be a price to pay if you don't
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accept my demand. and obama's strategic patience, kind of turning the screws, it didn't create enough to the north korea regime and trump let all be known completely destroying north korea and all kinds of things, and with kim jong-un which the credibility when it comes to its own threat of punishment. the third criteria of mr. trump, which was not only the pressure, you also have to provide certain kind of reward, carrot and stick approach. and provide enough incentive for kim jong-un to come to the negotiation table with a
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serious kind of incentive and intention. mr. trump, simply by suggesting and provide actually meeting with kim jong-un, a huge reward for kim jong-un regime. of course, you know, for the u.s. kind of recognition of kim jong-un as a kind of working party or one of the most -- the most powerful nation, the leader of the united states meeting with him in person, that provided huge incentive in kim jong-un. that's how, in combination of all of this, it created enough, you know, urgency at the same time incentive for kim jong-un to come out and at least meet with mr. trump, which was not the case for president obama. so these are the kind of my conclusions, but at the end of the day, of course, all of those two different approaches
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it didn't eventually accomplish the denuclearization effective from the u.s. perspective, but anyway, those are the kinds of lesson and comparisons that i tried to apply and analyzing, maybe could have some future implication for the biden administration's approach to north korea as they're trying to engage another round of nuclear negotiations with pong-yeong. >> thank you, and the next we'll go to john. >> thanks, victor, just to echo everyone else, this has been a great project and i've treasured being a part of this group and we shift now from political science and
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international relations to history, which i guess was part of your purpose in gathering us together as you said, a sort of multidisciplinary approach. i did a few pieces for the project, but maybe the one i'd start with, victor, it's actually not out yet. so this is a teaser. everyone can race off to the website of the journal cold war studies and keep updating until the article drops, but i was really intrigued, obviously my background is in china, sort of come to north korea via china. so i used this as an opportunity to dig deeper into that relationship in a way that it's kind of putting the black box next to the gray box and see what happens. and it's a piece of it where the anchor moment is in 1980
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where there's this interesting contradiction i saw between what was happening in china which was going through the post mou transition into the aria where ping was battling feudalism. and during the campaign there was the constitutional provision that set the term limits on the chinese president that xi jinping got rid of in 2019. that was interesting to look into because of the contradiction formed was later in that october at the sixth
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coronation of his son. and it was that ideological contradiction i wanted to look at and probe the tensions between china and north korea and i think, you know, what i was trying to do, although it's a straight history approach, i think part of my motivation was having observed as we all did, the pretty extraordinary open tensions of 2017 between kim jong-un and xi jinping and look at the tensions in my own mind to get a better understanding of how to contextualize what we see. in terms of methodology, what i ended up doing, again, this is sort of black box or two black
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box approach, i relied primarily on the state media reports coming simultaneously out of pyong yang and beijing and the state media outlets and that gave me the opportunity to look for discrepancies in terms of the reporting on the china side versus the north korean side. so any delays or differences, things mentioned there and not mentioned in the people's daily and vice versa, i sort of jumped on those and tried to develop an interpretation basically out of the gaps in the reporting. and lastly, i would say, you know, as a historian, you don't really have to prove anything. there's no end. things just happen and you try to figure out what happened so that really was at the end of the day, what it was about,
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that research. but i guess i would say that if i tried to draw a broader conclusion, which i say, i think is a pattern in that very peculiar relationship is that you know, you could see these tensions, if you know, especially how to read the state media, they were there and not as out in the open as 2017 and i think it shows how bad the relationship was in 2017. but the other thing is, what i couldn't find and it's possible it's hidden in the archives, i couldn't find evidence of kind of resolving the tension. instead, it was more like ping in china and grooming his successors, and they start of sorted these tensions and grit their teeth and moved onto the next tensions.
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what i couldn't see was resolution, learning, growing, and to me, you know, that speaks to the way in which that alliance. i do think it's an alliance relationship is a very tense one. and one without a lot of growth, but that also, in a way, has a strange resilience, it can absorb a tension that maybe we would break apart other relationships. that was the take away, if any. >> great, thanks, john. so terrific summary. i know that all of you are doing different and a number of works with the project, but thanks for summarizing some of them. in all of you, in some respects with your projects, are dealing with questions of north korea resilience, domestic resilience or with regards to relationships with china historically or currently. so i wanted to shift the
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conversation to looking at questions of north korean stability in 2021 and how you assess that these days. i know that, john, in some of your -- in addition to the general cold war history project, you've also written some for asian survey that the year that -- the year ender or the beginning of the year, asian survey pieces on north korea, north korea in 2020, north korea in 2021, i don't know if you're doing north korea in 2022, but if you were to write something now, or maybe you've already thought about this, what do you think would be the main story, if we talked about north korea in 2021? >> thanks, victor, that's a great question. and briefly on those, i did do two. the two was enough. i retired, but it was a great exercise, those are wonderful, very-- i've used those before.
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they're useful. those year enders, that asian survey does for many countries in the region and so i really enjoyed doing those as kind of practice, what was important in 2019 and in 2020. and those were relatively quiet years. i'm glad i didn't have to do 2017 and 2018. it was in a way easier, although by 2020, and this gets to your question, it was getting hard to figure out what to say because it was getting so quiet and our sources of information, which are again the black box title of our project, you know, our source are are limited, but even that limited pool is drying up and the humanitarian groups who certainly i think we all take opportunities if we can to chat
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with folks off the whether things are written up. and you get some sense of how things are going on the ground. obviously, there's been so much interest from the outside to understand where is north korea with covid. which basically, i'm waiting for the expert who really knows. i haven't found anyone who actually knows. we have a lot of educated guesswork and that kind of thing. so, by the end of 2020 and i think this is probably what i have been writing about and grappling with now, is almost an meta article, this issue of the black box and how under these conditions, you actually learn to appreciate the sources you do have in quote, unquote, normal times before covid. when there was-- there are more defectors going out and coming back in or if you had more of an information flow with groups here, you had the diplomatic community and ngo community and that's
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essentially all gone. so that's probably, i have a feeling the title of the piece would be something epistomological and i could look at the piece in search of health and power. because of the all consuming focus on combatting covid. there was no pretense that it doesn't exist. north korea was one of the-- maybe the first country maybe before china to seal its border and treat it with extreme souseness, so that was -- extreme seriousness and that would be much harder to do justice to this year. >> thanks. thanks, john. let me go now to ask you, very
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interesting research, this project that you've done trying to map and predict what movement would look like in north korea in the event of some sort of instability. if i would-- if we take that question more and scope it out even more broadly what would be the indicators based on your research with regard to whether there was actual instability in the regime? you said we wouldn't see the source of flows outside of the country into china, but where we -- where there would be a lot of movement would be inside the country and so would that be like the primary indicator? how would you look at this whole question of instability based on the research that you've done. >> thanks, victor, i think that one of the -- one of the things that has come to me, maybe too gradually, but one of the
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things that had come to me in doing work on north korea is something that you and your team at csis, using satellite imagery and dr. greitens and some of the work that she's doing on kind of what kind of signals are there that the north korean regime does not control? what can we look at that's data that's not produced by north korea itself? because there are so many ways in which things are controlled within the north korean state. and when it comes to international relations data, external data, we're almost always relying on the state, and in cases where we're not relying on the state to give us data, we're relying on nongovernmental organizations and on third party institutions, that in the north korean case are not active or
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in this most recent couple of years, have been specifically pushed out of the country or barred from reentering the country, right? so i think that one of the i think so this that we want to look at to know whether or not there is a significant amount of regime stability is really, is there-- are we starting to see uncontrolled population movement within the country in a way that we hadn't before? as you know, movement within the country is also very closely restricted and regulated. and so if we did start to see population movement that was unanticipated, and in a more -- or less systemic way than what we might expect, with some policy regime itself. i would say that that would be a good external indicator that's not controlled by the
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kim regime it's is he have that we could look to. >> interesting. in terms of internal movement, what does your model show in terms of where -- was the movement moving, was it moving to the big cities or what sort of movement did you see? did you guys find? >> so one of the nice things about a computer simulation model is that, you can run 100 or 1,000 different scenarios and so what we have started doing, i mean, we will remain the model and we'll use it to make it as complex as we like, or change it as time goes on, but one of the things that we thought was very important is if there were conflict that was centered in pyong yang, what would happen to much of the population is concentrated there and the wealthy and powerful are also concentrated
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there. and so what we looked at was a small conflict there and compared that to something that was longer term and larger, and what we saw in a small conflict, in a concentrated conflict, is people disperse, but then they return. pretty much as soon as it's done because it's the violence that drives people away. and that's what we see in other conflict scenarios in other places, too, where there's, for example, a coo or a a longer termed conflict, what we saw is much longer term displacement and movement at least from pongyang to places to other places or border with south korea dmz.
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>> very interesting. so let's go to you. if your work on courses of diplomacy. it looks like we'll be living with a nuclear north korea for the foreseeable future despite, you know, the stated policy of complete and irreversible denuclearization. first, what do you think about that? and two, what are the implications for this for diplomacy? >> yes, in fact, that's a kind of -- one of my second part of the project that i'm working on because i ended with my first project, as a conclusion, despite all of this, these two different approaches, what they have is, yes, the north korea nuclear program is going on and
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kim jong-un with the nuclear weapon. and with the thinking about this, like you said, kind after wide agreement concensus among those in washington and other parts of the world, no matter what kim jong-un is going to give up his nuclear weapons, that's one of the most important guarantees for him of survival, so we all know, and why that it's the question. and how we view it or live with it is kind of semi nuclear power, north korea. and then we need to again, dive into just what is their nuclear intention. at the same time, the capabilities. and obviously, over the past years and decades, there has been research about the nuclear tension or the capability as
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they test so many nuclear weapons at the same time, missiles and all of those things and i found that there was kind of, too much of a wide variety of assessment from very much kind of a north korea has all kinds of nuclear weapons capability and questions to the united states, the washington d.c. and all of those major cities with this capability. and those, i mean, you have to always think about the worst case scenario and that's a little bit too much over north korea's nuclear capabilities. yet we should not underestimate it, the weapons capability. so we need to find in between. and what could be termed a kind of connection between their real intention and weapons
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capability including all of those missile capabilities and to have a more realistic assessment first and then we can come up with how to deter or deal with those-- north korea's weapons capabilities and there is, i know, a lot of debate going on about this is really -- or this is based on different assessments, we need to -- there's also kind of response or suggestion about how to deal with those. what is the best deterrent against those-- north korea's weapons capabilities. and recently, especially in south korea's ongoing presidential campaign, there's an interesting debate coming out of north korea, can we test
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u.s. against increasing north korea's increasing capability. and kind of a wide case scenario against some of the korean politicians, for example, is that maybe-- south korea need to develop our own nuclear capability. i think that's a kind of very dangerous kind of area that, you know, we could fall into if we emphasize too much about kind of capability. we overestimate north korea's nuclear capability and this is trying to assess how to strike a balance between north korea, and their weapons and nuclear capability. and that's what i've been working on.
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i guess the biden administration came up with calibrate with north korea, what that is, how to deal with north korea and i think eventually they have to find some in between obama and trump, they need to talk to kim jong-un again. >> thanks. you mentioned the south korea elections and politicians being among the people we've heard about questions about u.s. extended deterrents, given the -- the unlikely that north korea would denuclearize soon. is there any data on which that -- where that sits on the political spectrum. and has that changed over time? because you know, i know there are certain people that you have been associated with, but i guess the question is, has
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that-- has it moved -- is it still isolated to that particular pocket, the south korean political spectrum or has that changed? >> yes, one thing is that, you know, the true presidential candidate or camp. traditionally it's more for u.s. out of south carolina and these are the camps that there is for kind of, such a kind of south korea, nuclear armaments, and the governing party candidate deliver progress, and political spectrum. the tests say, no, no, no, we shouldn't go to that dangerous taskment and all kind of things. and, but at the same time, i guess, even along those
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conservatives, i think those who are about the south korea nuclear development, it needs to be -- but at the same time, with this nuclear negotiation between the u.s. and north korea, it's not going anywhere and it's why at the same time there's some kind of public awareness about growing nuclear's growing capability. and there's a recent poll done by an institute, a think tank in north korea, 70% of south korea saying that maybe we should develop our own nuclear weapon capability. of course, when there's a better korean relation or better dialog of conversation between the u.s., and the support for kind of nuclear armament, and like 50% or 40%, but at the same time, if really
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nothing happens in this nuclear negotiation front, obviously, the pressure for a kind of korean public and politician to doing something about this north korea program and some day you may have a serious debate about south korea. and at the same time those people will talk about redeployment of the u.s. nuclear weapon into -- there's different debates including one at the moment, but that debate is happening in korea right now. >> great, thanks. now, let me go to john and step back from the question of extend the deterrents and discussions to moon, you've
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been in seoul and one of public commentators on this. the moon government, now we're entering december and they've got a few months left in office. you know, five years of really intense efforts with north korea. arguably their most important priorities and some might say even more important than domestic issues, or at least the view of tomorrow. how would you assess the overall record, given the effort that's been put in, what accomplishments were made and, you know, as a professor how would you gauge the policy? >> with he will, now that everything is on-line, you know, my whole theory of grading has changed so i might not give a grade. it's a great question and it's very hard when you're in the middle of it. i do think about that. i think about how will historians in 10, 20, 30 years
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look back on the moon years. i mean, living through it now, my guess is, it's going to be about covid and pretty, pretty skillfully, not necessarily moon himself, but making the right decisions in terms of empowering them in the state and a society that makes good decisions so i sort of think that's probably actually going to be what it's mostly about, even though that's not really what we talk about. it's sort of assumed, yeah, they've done a good job of that, but on north korea, victor, i think that we all live through 2017, moon played his part and i think he'll get credit for helping. i think, both kim jong-un more. but moon jae-in played in my view a catalyst role in using the olympics and giving trump the space what he wanted to do
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which was to directly engage, which in my view was the right move, so moon was instrumental in kind of that whole shift. and things were getting pretty scary as we all know, late 2017. and so i think history will be charitable there. 2018, obviously, hopes got really high and the process then fell apart after basically a year not even a full calendar year. and since then, moon has clearly tried to, you know, claw some way back to it. i think at this point he's hoping, the moon shot is one last summit and actually, i would not at all count that off. you know, the possibility. discount the possibility of that, but that, of course, won't achieve anything in its substance. so, you know, i think the answer -- this is how history often works, a lot of the
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answer to how moon is judged depends who wins the election in march and where things go from there and that's a whole black box. you can barely-- i can't follow what the two main candidates are saying so that's very hard to predict so i think if either of the candidates can either build on the legacy of 2018, of the good work they did with the cma, you know the confidence building, the sort of in weeds pragmatic stuff, then i think it will be down to moon's credit if things go in a different way, you know, it gets harder to assess. so, yeah, i think that the path may depend on the future. >> spoken like a true historian. [laughter] >> not answer the question. now, that's actually quite, quite insightful. we've got some questions from the audience that i'd like to
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see if we can get to. and first one i'd like to go to is one that's for dr. coggins. it's from bangladesh, that's what's so great about zoom. the question for bridget. thank you for your insightful presentation. do you think in the event of an exodus of north korean refugees to china that xi jinping would treat them harshly? >> yes, the reason why i think so, they're demonstrated treatment of so-called north korean defectors harshly. i think that unless they are-- unless their regime is convinced that treating member in some other way is more successful way of managing both
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the real problem, real humanitarian and security problems that would come along the border, but also alliance relationship with its most problematic ally, unless it's convinced there are other ways of more successfully dealing with those two issues, i think that the result is likely to be more of the same. and i think that that's tragic and horrible for the north korean population who is, you know, number one already very much struggling in terms of, you know, health and society and politics as a result of regime that many, if not a vast majority of them. and also, given a conflict environment. those needs and requirements would be all the more acute for that population, so i think for all of us in the international
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community, that talk about human rights in north korea and talk about the well-being of north koreans when we're talking about why more sanctions are important, for example, or holding fast on sanctions is important, we should also at least at the very least, simultaneously be making real and concrete humanitarian capacity plans for these populations and trying very, very ardently to reach these people who are at the moment beyond our help. >> thanks. bridget. a quick follow-up. you mentioned in this model that you developed, you can run different scenarios and you addressed one of them earlier, which was some sort of conflict inside of pong--
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pyong yang. and is there another scenario na you ran in the model? >> the biggest change, i think the biggest and most interesting shift that we saw in refugee and displacement movement came with whether or not the dmz was open or closed. so it's been the case that china has been hardening somewhat its border with north korea over the past decade and a half. and that is -- that will remain kind of closed, but only relatively closed depending upon whether or not it's at a river crossing or that sort of thing. there are more porous and less
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porous borders. and it's a hard military border it's not just land, but out into sea as we all know. there are three crossing points, potential crossing points where people could cross and pass into south korea. were there the capacity and political will to accept people crossing the border in large numbers. the population of south korea -- or of south korea is concentrated in the north and the population of north korea is concentrated towards the south. and so, that makes it a very interesting political question, but also humanitarian capacity planning for seoul. do you attempt to open the borders to allow refugees or really koreans, right, to pass into the cities and in the
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north? or not? and that the population pretty quickly figured out over time in this -- in these scenarios that there are border crossings that are open and that the especially long journey from the east coast may be onto the west coast, where it becomes much more possible to be moved to south korea just across the dmz for those people so we do see larger numbers siphon in that direction. >> thanks. very interesting stuff. next question, we have time for maybe one more question and this one isn't directed to anybody in particular, but i think it should go to shown. and how would you look at the question that the trump administration assigned to summit meetings with north korea and the lack of public
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attention to north korean relations with the biden administration, what do you address the appropriate u.s. policy towards the north? >> i think that's a very important point that in dealing with north korea, and whether it's good or bad, he's the one in a strong position. he's the one that makes the decisions and the u.s. needs to recognize which mr. trump did. at the same time, i know, how can we trust his word and this stuff. and we need a concrete discussion about terms and conditions about meeting and nuclear negotiating with that, but that's kind of approach, somehow u.s. needs to find a way to connect with kim jong-un again, starting with maybe
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sending more positive signals, trying to recover some of the trust that kim jong-un, you know, had with donald trump and the sense that mr. biden acknowledging the singapore summit agreement between kim jong-un and trump not only denuclearization, but normalizing u.s. relation and regime of the peninsula was the right thing to do. ... maybe you just need to talk to south korea about to connect with kim jong-un in close correlation between u.s. and south korea.
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>> great, thanks. so i'm going to sneak in one more question for professor coggins which came in from the university, and that is bridget, you mention it's important look at information that data that north korea does not control such as ngo reports from research. however, as we currently don't have many eyes and ears on the ground due to the pandemic what sources would you consider to be the most reliable for current research on north korea? >> this is a tough one. and i think there are a number of different limitations to how much, or maybe the depth and texture of the information that were ability to gather given the current conditions. but what i do think is important is a couple of things. the first is paying attention to
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things that we can see at a distance, right, patterns in movements and external policies are the result of external policies, the sort of ripple effects of things that we can see. and there are also creative strategies for data access that different researchers are using. so, for example, something like rice prices within grain markets, right, to see how the actual market is affected rather than the posted prices, , right, which we all know are very limited utility and telling us what the economic situation is within the country. i think that i personally think, too, that it's important to look
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for what's not there, , what's missing. so, for example, if it is the case that given north korea's political situation, there is data that really regularly produced for particular reason with that particular event in mind to show that maybe people are healthy and doing very well. we can see in the patterns over time the specific manipulation if we can think about a known bias that might be cooked into those numbers what is attempting to be communicated or what needs to be downplayed versus outplayed politically. and so i think the best that we might be able to do with health and well-being in particular is to look at these kind of data forensic tools to try to reason backward about what's trying to
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be communicated and what that might be hiding, kind of what's not there, what's hidden underneath the numbers that we do have. >> thanks, bridget. john, did you want to get in on this? >> just really quickly. so interesting i was really struck by the comment about looking for data that they don't control. and one thing that strikes me i tend to stick to more traditional sources, the texts of the state like in my research. i guess you could say north korea doesn't control chinese state media and so finding discrepancies is one way to try and get at something going on. another example that came to my mind listening to bridget is even in kim jong-un's speeches which i found i think was particularly in 2019 when it did asian survey peas, really quite interesting to sit there and sort of systematically read
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through his speeches over basically the full year. you actually hear him talking about things he can't control. it's quite frustrating, like there's a lot of anger and frustration in -- these are by the publication of the state of the politburo meetings and that is site visits. and so you know, this issue of what hints of what can't be controlled can i think can be found fragments of it in authoritative documents of the state that are basically under the complete control of kim jong-un. but it's very grateful to bridget. it's a wonderful way for us to think about how again we crack open the black box a little bit. >> well, thanks. one thing we can't control is time and, unfortunately, we're out of it. this is a really fantastic hours of discussion, all the very
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interesting research that you guys have been doing. so i want to thank you all for joining us this morning, doctor bridget coggins, dr. john delury, doctor ho. thank you for purchase abating in the consortium and we wish you the best of luck with the rest of your research. so again thank you from boston and from seoul. we will now transition to the next panel, and joining us is our other, two other members of our washington consortium. let me introduce them properly, if that's okay. so i will start with doctor sheena chestnut greitens who is an associate professor at the
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lbj school -- lbj school of public international public affairs at the university of texas-austin as well as faculty fellow with the climate center for national security and a distinguished scholar with international security and law. doctor grimes was an assistant professor of political science at university of missouri and i have here that codirector of the universities institute for korean studies but think it also founded the institute for korean studies at missouri. which is arguably more important than codirecting. and it also joining us actually from manila if i'm correct and are still in the philippine, andrew yeo, professor of politics and rectification study center at the catholic university of america in washington, washington, d.c. currently he's on leave in manila in the philippines, and as some of you or many of you may know he will also take up
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the reins as a new sk korea foundation chair in korean studies at the brookings institution center for east asia policy studies. so it's great to have both dr. greitens and andrew yeo joining us for the second hour the panel. so what we did before the previous panel was explained to the audience broadly what we did with this grant and different projects that people were working on it and asked ae previous group if they could just give us five or so minutes about one of the projects that you been working on under the grant, if that's okay just so that people have some idea. i know that in both of your cases you wrote more than one piece for the lab. so if i could go to dr. chestnut greitens first-come if you could give us a little summary of some
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of the work you've been doing, that would be great. >> absolutely. first of all thank you dr. cha for your leadership on this, to csis into the academy of korean studies. just a terrific lab experience at a really enjoyed the first panel, which is able to listen to most of, and i think there's an interesting tie-ins to the things that andrew and i might say today that i did a couple of projects for the latter one was looking to change to the north korean political economy in basically what we call market leninism under north korea. but, which is a bully can get her discussion of that when we talk a bit about andrew's work on market and state society relations. but the piece i i wanted to rd highlight in introduce is a forthcoming book with cambridge in the element series on east asian society, politics. when the process of finalizing the manuscript now but the book really tries to look at, the
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title of it is the politics of the north korean diaspora, and it really looks at what is happening to north koreans who have left the dprk angela bell actually become globally distributed, which is a phenomenon that i incurred when i started doing some research on north korea and on north korean economy that as part of that research ended up encountering and having really interesting conversations with people who left north korea over not just in south korea but gathered around the world, the largest population of north korean refugees and defectors is obviously in the rok, but there are now small consortiums and north korean refugees and defectors in the united states, canada, in the uk, in germany, in france and in japan as well. and so the book tries first of all just to describe what's happening which is this global
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dispersion, this emergence of a north korean diaspora as opposed to the broader korean global diaspora has really been formed in the last 20 or so years. what's interesting about this is we are used to thinking of diasporas in largely ethnic terms but one of the interesting things that we found was this group of north koreans has pretty distinctive migration patterns, , has a distinct sense of political identity and in unique ways is incorporating in with the western democracies where a lot of these numbers of the diaspora have ended up. a lot about is shaped by two things. first of all is the divided, the division of the korean peninsula which has affected were north koreans want to leave north korea can go, right? the availability of south korean citizenship means many of them are not only allowed but encouraged or in some cases required to go to south korea picks of uk has a mission now
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that because south korea is an available durable solution for north koreans that they must go there rather than claiming asylum or refugee status in the uk. i'm not sure if the united states has special legislation which a no dr. cha in a very wealthy north korean human rights act that permits north koreans cannot go to south korea first to resettle in the united states and actually just about a month ago canada passed, made a decision that would allow a child program that is somewhat similar to allow north koreans have not come to south korea first to be sponsored for private resettlement in canada. a very small scale child for grandpa could potentially be expanded in the future. and so the first fact that really shaped where this north korean diaspora has gone is the division in the contested nature of citizenship on the korean peninsula.
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the second factor that really a facts numbers of the diaspora and how they think about north korea is a fact that north korea is one of the world's most closed authoritarian regimes. and so the book manuscript goes through not only where people do go and how to incorporate in the western democracies where they are largely concentrated, get outside of south korea and japan, but it also then looks at the north korean regime and how it is attended to manage the image a potentially a defectors diaspora. during the cold war north korea was able to basically project i diaspora that was -- spotted in largely controlled by the state. it was a state affiliated overseas presence. what's happened since the 1990s is an increasing number of north koreans abroad are not sent there by the regime, don't remainder in order to achieve
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the goals or the purposes of the north korean regime. they are either dissidents or people who have escaped for economic and political reasons. that change the nature of the diaspora from about the mid-1990s to present also means the north korean regime has changed how it relates to north koreans abroad. a lot more surveillance and attempts to discredit defectors who leads, particularly those who are outspoken on human rights advocacy, whether that's at the u.n. or before the united states congress or through civil society, activism in south korea with things like balloon launches or attempt to provide information to the people, family and friends who remain in north korea. and in some cases that's actually extended to state-sponsored or state directed assassination and actual attempts to decapitate
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potential opposition and deter people who remain abroad from engaging in advocacy for human rights who are trying to change the situation on the ground inside north korea. so the chapter outlines three different approaches that the north korean regime has taken one is simply to deter people from leaving at all. the second is to discredit north koreans who have left, who are critical of the regime and its policies. and third is to decapitate opposition or try to prevent the diaspora that exists from turning into an overseas opposition. there's a lot of discussion right now in diaspora studies in the study of migration about when and how diasporas can be an effective voice abroad for internal political change and authoritarian regimes. diaspora members play an impact in the arab spring but in many cases their roles in advocating
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for political change in their homeland depended on social media and internet connectivity that doesn't exist in the north korean case. the north korean regime has so tightly controlled access to information and the ability of external actors to get information to north korea. my guess would be that was in part motivated by watching what happens in the arab spring and the catalyst that some of visa overstays actors played an antiregime mobilization. we know north korea is actually thinking about and i believe there was report this summer there were getting training from the chines midship public security on how to handle unrest so this looks like something they are actively thinking and monitoring. certainly their behavior towards the diaspora becoming increasingly sort of activist in its patterns of surveillance and trying to control what the members of the north korean diaspora do as political advocates and activists.
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so the book is really, first of all, trying to document this phenomenon and document the experiences of these thousands of people who have chosen to leave north korea and resettle, both in the korean peninsula where there's been a lot of great research already, , but ao noticed more far-flung global community about which there's been relatively little scholarship. so the first goal is simply to lay out that this is happening and then to think the project also wants to think a little bit about how this could affect the future of north korea, the future of any plans for reunification, and what then global and international policies towards the dprk should be. so i'll stop there and happy to answer follow-up questions but the book should be coming out sometime early next year, depending on how the covid production process goes. there's a little uncertainty on
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that and i had hoped the book would be out by now but it's been a little bit of slow going as we all -- dependent come so i look forward to sharing it with everybody in its actual hard or electronic copy early next year. thanks. >> that's great. thanks so much, sheena. the celtic really fascinating -- [inaudible] i lost my headset. that sounds like a really fascinating, fascinating book. like you said there isn't much literature on this at all. there's quite a bit of defective testimony inside of south korea and number of books have been written based on that but this is something us are interesting. can ask you this one quick follow-up question? you mentioned that candidate is experimenting a little bit with our resettlement effort. is that something that is being -- how is that being done? is that being done by ngo
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groups? is their acts like in the united states pgh yes, a great question. so previously actually one of the largest communities the north korean expatriates was in the greater area and in canada. it turned out that most of those were on word of migrants from south korea, so large number of that committee had gone to south korea first and decided to move to canada, and that was, the canadian government initially said it was going to permit people who had not been to north korea first to come but not people would been dash on sir, south korea first but not any other. then it tighten the decision. ironically around the time when it was increasing its refugee camp for migrants and refugees from syria and elsewhere, it actually the canadian immigration authorities determined that because the was an option of going to south
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korea, north koreans could you come to candidate at all. they were not going to be considered because they have this alternate citizenship available to them. there is some tension which the book goes into in more depth and tries to explain between that and what the rok governments position is been over time, but the result was at the time ironically when it had the most sort of pro-immigrant, pro-refugee rhetoric the trudeau administration with issuing deportation notices to north koreans in canada and that was one of the things that sparked my interest in what on earth is going on here and what are the politics of this? because the seem like such an incongruent decision to me. took about six years for civil society advocates and ngos in canada to work with the ministers of immigration, the immigration authorities to get -- there's a special measure under canadian law with the
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minister of immigration can say okay these people don't meet the standard for refugees understand canadian law that we're going to make an exception. the exception has been used twice before in canada's history to allow pilot come small-scale resettlement programs. so the civil society organization, ngo that is sponsoring the five north korean families for private resettlement so it requires private font sponsorship, requires an ngo to do much of the heavy lifting and it's a pilot program, only five families in the next two years. but i know from talking to lot of the advocates and folks in the committee ferro helping the program will be successful and can then be named either permanent or institutionalized for a longer period of time. so it works under basically a special pre-existing measure in canadian law but it requires a clear group-based determination
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by the minister, and that just happened recently. it was just announced last month. and the other interesting part of it is that it is in canada this case explicitly focused on women and children, which is both meets the priorities of the trudeau government which has a very feminist emphasis in its foreign policy and its human rights advocacy, but it's also a good match frankly for the north korean refugee community, which is 70-80% female, depending on what you look at it. this is the consistently female population, either often people have been subject to some form of gender-based violence or trafficking. it actually is a policy that is sort of a good fit between the canadian governments priorities and the needs of north korean refugee population. so i think this was a case that was pretty smart advocacy by the ngo community, canada. it took years.
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it was a long process and having interviewed some of the folks who were involved in it, i just commended them for the patience and determination in getting this through because i know it wasn't easy but i do think it's a potential model now that could be used in some other countries who have immigration systems a bit more like canada's and less like the united states. there are some similarities to the north korean act with the model is quite different a potentially provides a different and a second model for other countries to copy what you think is a good thing for the people of north korea. >> thanks. thanks, that's fascinating, fascinating stuff. okay. now i would like to go to andrew yeo, as can brookings korea chair and press a catholic. andrew, i know you've done a couple projects for the lab as well. would you like to sort of give
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our audience some insights into what you have been working on. >> which sure, victor, thanks. i does also what is how delighted i am to be on this panel with you and sheena who are seeing this project developed over the past few years. i know she knows -- that's one of the great things about this lab that we all have this interest in north korea and we can bounce off ideas off each other. i'm also grateful to the korea chair, yourself, victor, and all visit csis and also the academy of korean studies for the logistical and financial support pixel again my gratitude goes out there. in terms of the project, this project over five years lifted to make academic articles. one which examined people and people engagement in north korea. sadly almost none of which existed at because of the pandemic, and then the other article was a review essay which evaluated how we assess domestic change in north korea but like sheena i think i will talk about
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the penultimate project which was a short book published by cambridge university press earlier this year and with like sheena it is through the elements of east asian society and politics series. so that's now available. but in line with our project theme of understanding the black box of north korea, the book was a way for me to organize my own thinking about the prospects for domestic change in north korea and more specifically the potential development of civil society. now, the early stages of the book i was much more focused on the civil society aspect that it was clear that there isn't much in a way of an actual civil society, going to be a pretty short book. i shifted direction of that so working that we are looking more at how markets can shape relations. back to this question of whether there's a change or not in north korea, on one hand the seem to be little change and we see the kim family dynasty is outlived
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almost every current dictatorship in its 70+ years of continuous roll. north korea is still one of the poorest countries in the world and it perennially ranks to the bottom of any index on political freedoms, , on things like civil liberty, political liberties. on the other hand, we've heard fast eddie accounts of rising markets, the emergence of new capitalists and existence of a post-famine generation who crave for more information about the outside world. on one hand it sends a north korea hasn't changed at all the past two decades but on the other hand, we do hear these stories, , these anecdotes about things are changing on the ground. now both narratives may be true and the question may depend on what aspect of north korea or which region of the country is worth examining. so from a macro level perspective and may appear that little has changed about north korea, but at a micro level if
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we go look at this from the bottom-up, there is some widespread consensus among north korea experts about the significant role markets play in north korea's economy and their importance to state and private actors. formal and informal markets have become a permanent fixture in what is supposed to be a socialist state. now what's up for date -- what's up for debate is what degree markets and trade networks have altered state society relations. the central here is whether expanding markets weaken authoritarian rule. and what is keyed up i argue is a question of authoritarian legitimacy and how well kim jong-un manages to successfully co-op markets into the regimes ideology. if the regime implements control of economic measures, extracts rants and the market economy into his ideology the state will likely retain strong authoritarian control.
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markets will be beholden to the state providing the regime much-needed revenue and thereby empowering rather than weakening the state. but in a different hypothesis, in contrast to that view where the state, state is master over society, the regime fails to incorporate markets into its message is private actors built informal trust networks, share information and collude with state bureaucrats. more fundamental changes in state society relations are in order. as north koreans become further depend on market for economic survival the regimes authoritarian grip may weaken as gaps emerge between the regimes ideology and actual experiences of north koreans. if markets continued to shift power in favor of private market participants while at the same time hollowing out the legitimacy of the state may begin to see signs of an emerging public scare. those are my hypothesis and i'll
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say more if you talk him if we talk more about the pandemic, but for the most part i think markets are very difficult to control. we've seen the state tried to walk back markets, rain in the markets, but most of the time markets have reemerged but right now we are in a of pandemic there's just not a lot of flow of goods come across the border and so the situation looks grim right now but in the longer term i am optimistic that markets will return and we may see some of these dynamics point out again. we don't know how long it will be before north korea can shake off the ethics of this pandemic, but i am more hopeful at least if we think in the longer term. >> great, thanks, andrew. can i ask you, and we will talk about the pandemic and its
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impact. can ask you one follow-up question, which is so as you know we have collected a bunch of data at csis in regard to formal markets, whatever it is -- >> 436 markets, at least, at least as of 2016, five years ago, that exist in north korea. in the study you have done in the research have you done, you come across any good data about informal markets in north korea? i know it's very hard to come by, but anything that you learned about the informal markets in north korea? >> most of the information of informal markets comes from defectors and it's hard -- the project that you are referring to that csis had done, i remember seeing the coordinates on maps of where these market locations are in there are other studies that have looked at that but, unfortunately, because of
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the infernal markets they can be anything from just people selling things within their neighborhood to just on the street. i haven't seen anything as systematic but certainly there is evidence of markets, and formal markets operating in certain cities, in certain regions. so long the border region as it were informal markets are more prevalent. we have seen more anecdotal information rather than systematic, but on the whole we definitely know that informal markets have grown and taken up a larger share of the north korean economy. >> the other question quickly, do we know, so we know the government taxes a formal markets. do we know if they're able to tax the informal markets? >> so i was reading, i was reviewing a paper and someone mentioned that north korea can't tax the markets because the informal market because it would be, it would be recognition that it's a market economy and the
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prices are actually fixed. we sometimes call the formal markets when they make vendors pay, they have to pay a a fee. they have to be a certain may be percentage of whatever they make in their profits to state and we refer to that as a tax but that is technically not a tax. on the informal markets, no, there isn't a tax per se but if you think of bribery as a form of tax. some think of bride as that's the cosseting visit in north korea's oftentimes if you're doing informal markets you to pay off, make payoff border guards or pay off the security official to be able to sell your goods. some will say that is the cosseting visit so you might refer to that as a tax but there isn't a tax per se that the state can actually impose these informal markets, at least nothing systematic. >> great. thanks. sheena, you had a comment in the
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chat. you want to speak to that for the audiences benefit? >> sure. so this gets to the question and enter and i have had conversation about what's going on in state society relations in the north korean regime tries to regulate markets. one of the things that's really interesting, i want to pick up on this distinction between the informal and the formal market your a lot of the stories we've seen lately about repression of market activity are actually explicitly directed at these informal or grasshopper markets. and part of, part of our thinking in his paper that he worked on on market leninism picks up and very much built on andrew's work to argue that part of what the regime strategy is, so and a very much looks at this from the perspective of the state society and civil society of the civilians who are trying and citizens were trying to navigate these constraints inside the regime. if you look at the regime's
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policies the looks of it like what the north korean regime is trying to do is to force, shut down all of the informal market activity, which is more genuine spontaneous framework activity and force it into these regime controlled markets where it can be regulated and taxed. because that's an effective way of siphoning revenue upward in north kim regime but also lets them keep closer control of their own agents whether people who have been engaged in bribery, coercion and sometimes abuse of this system with the informal market. so we see some of this as an effort to shift at the locus of market activity from the informal markets that are outside regime controlled to this very where they can be regulated and taxed by the regime. andrew's work i can really
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carefully point out that is pretty different effect on state society relations if the markets are formal versus informal, and the potential for markets to be politically liberating for, get smaller if the regime's able to shift people into these more formal regime controlled markets. so it's a part of andrew's work that i think is really interesting, we are saying that distinction especially under covid play out in real time. >> let's talk about that. first is just the theme that resonates from the last panel in this panel as well, a lot of the work about understand north korea as a black box is finding what are the things the government can control, what they cannot control and how they try to wrest control over things they cannot control. this is clear to one of the areas. the other which we haven't
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talked about in the context of the project but all of you know well is the contest that's taking place in communications technology side between north korean citizens who are gaining more access to cell phones and sms texting and the government use of that technology to actually try to control more and monitor more what their citizens can what their citizens are doing. but can we move -- both of you have sort of started around it but let's talk about sort of the impact of the pandemic and what it's a done. what it's done to markets and then how it's impacted the government strategy in markets, how it's impacted society. i don't know, who would like to go first? >> i can take that first if you don't mind. there is much greater optimism
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about markets empowering society in the mid--- early, , mid-2010 when money was flowing, the money was thriving and a pre-pandemic, pretty heavy sanction era. north korean watches myself included, i said i was more optimistic in the longer term post pandemic but it's also less optimism now about things like societal change or economic change. it stems from almost two years of heavy border lockdowns. we've also seen the regime crackdown on the spread of capitalists and outside cultural influence. there's a tightening of ideological indoctrination as well, too. so what that means for the markets is that there's just a lot less good money that's flowing that circulating in north korea. even things like good for food
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production like fertilizer, seeds, grain. there's a shortage of this and right now there's humanitarian crisis that's ongoing in north korea. so when you talk about markets, the pandemic itself, the people are suffering but as i think john had mentioned, john delury had mentioned in first panel, these are also things that kim jong-un has confessed he doesn't have control over. that must be frustrating for the leadership as well. they are doing the best we can to try to control the situation. sheena has written about this as well about the state trying to centralize economic authority once again and really to plant down, rain in the markets. this was going on before the pandemic but since the pandemic family tightened their grip on the market strike you take control of the economy again. and so even though the market
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has shrunk just naturally because of the pandemic i think the state is become less open to it, and that's where i mentioned we see periods of markets opening and then the regime clamping down for cracking down again on markets and we're in this time where the state is really trying to clamp down on this. whether that's because of the pandemic or whether the state is using the pandemic as an excuse to really tighten its authority, i mean, that's up for debate but it is a grim situation right now in north korea. >> sheena? >> yeah, it's a great question. you know, i would say i think we see a couple of different effects on the pandemic and certainly it is made research in and global politics in general pretty challenging in the last couple of years. but in terms of the effect on north korean migration, north
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korean refugees, north korean diaspora, i think what we've seen is north korea is may be an extreme case but it is a broader global pattern of what some of my colleagues in a forthcoming paper at international skerry called opportunistic repression. their paper looks at some authoritarian or authoritarian regimes in africa who found in the pandemic a reason, a pretext to do some things they might already wanted to do in terms of strengthening political control but the pandemic provided reason to assume emergency powers, to put a lot of power into executives hands, meaning the sort of core leadership in many cases autocrat or a dictator. and then truly crackdown on society including targeting political opponents under the guise of these public health emergency measures. in north korea's case that meant limits on intra-mobility which was one of the things that make
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market activity possible and allow information to circulate more freely and really tighten border control. so the effect has been really to decimate the number of in the literal sense, right, down to 10% of what, or less, of what it once was, a number of north koreans who were able to leave, leave north korea, , particulary via china. north korea was already one of the of to retain regimes in the international system that limited immigration. there are some non-democracies that actually do allow citizens to leave a fair amount and return to the country, and it is still politically controlled uncalibrated but there's a lot more mobility. [inaudible] -- north korea has never been one of those and the pandemic
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has really tanked the number of people event able to escape north korea. i think in the last quarter a number of north koreans arriving in resettlement was in the single digits which usually tragic when it is coupled with the humanitarian crisis that andrew mentioned, the food shortages, the loss of cross-border trade with china which was an economic lifeline for so money people, particularly and northern parts of north korea, and so i think the effect of the pandemic has been not only to exacerbate the intro humanitarian crisis but andrew spoke about, but also to limit the ability of north koreans to leave in search of natalie political freedom but in some cases literal, physical survival. to me that she truly concerning and -- that is -- just for human
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tragedy is really troubling and concerning. we do see in the case of a north korean diaspora part of this book project involved a survey of north koreans in the united states, which we try to mayor some of the work that a been done in south korea so we could compare responses. and we still saw that between 30-40% of people were in touch with family or friends come some sort of context inside north korea or have been able to send something, but the cost of using a broker to get across the border has gone way, way up, and it's got much, much harder to communicate or send food, medicine, money, information. and so it's also attenuated the relationship between the north koreans who have escaped abroad and the family members that they still have inside north korea, which is again just i think i really tragic consequence of
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pandemic politics. >> great, both of you. i have a question for each of you, follow-up question for sheena. you mentioned the number of north koreans that are making their way to south korea has dwindled quite a bit, and that certain has to do with, have to do with opportunistic repression but if you can also comment on sort of weather, how, whether and so how the south korean governments policies with regard to north korean human rights has or has not affected the flow of people. and then for andrew, i'm curious to know your thoughts on the extent to which his lockdown with china which is now going on for like 23 months now has impacted -- how that has
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impacted the markets. i heard different stories, anecdotally about how it's impacted the markets, and we had some imagery last week that was featured in the financial times that showed that don't look like they're going to try to start to open up the border with china by converting an airbase into a storage facility, storage quarantine facility, but that looks like at all may be on hold now because of this new variant of the virus. but if you could sort of -- in your estimation how has this border lockdown affected the markets? so maybe i will go to andrew first. sure. the north korean watch committee knows 95% of trade north korean trade comes from china come so when you have a border lockdown and nothing is coming in and out, you can imagine what sort
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of the fact that would have for north korea come for north korean markets. when the majority of goods that you get a coming from one country and there's a hard lockdown, that should say something about markets itself. we have seen these signals, reports that trade with north korea has gone up and so maybe we are seeing north koreans -- i member the csis report, it looked like they were getting ready to maybe open one segment of the border to allow more shipments, but then things, the following month it doesn't materialize. it's one of these questions, going back to the theme of understanding the black box, what is kim jong-un thinking, how much longer can the country persist without borders opening up, up to a certain extent?
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so that's a great question, things about is the regime going to be stable another year or so? is it going to have to make -- will that change the calculus of the kim regime to maybe try to negotiate with the u.s. or engage south korea again? i mean, your guess is as good as my because you would think they would be at a point where they would want come certainly they want the sanctions relief, but they are still holding on so it leads to these questions what is driving the kim regime sky keyless? you would think having a vaccination strategy would then be an answer to trying to ease the border lockdown but that hasn't been the case as well. the flip side of this of course is some say the regime is able to survive because again somehow in terms of the illicit economy or illicit goods that things are
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still getting in to the country illegally may be through -- sheena may not -- may know more about this but i don't know what the port situation looks like if it opened any ports but there may be ways to smuggle things, smuggle things through. but again though sort of stories are also anecdotal so it's really hard to know. the elite tend to thrive through l legal sanctions evasions through the illicit economy. i don't know to what extent that holds true in a situation when there's a a strict border locn but it may be possible that it's actually because of markets at least the legal markets illicit trade that north koreans are still able, the regime elise stefanik to stay afloat. >> thanks, andrew. sheena? >> just a follow-up on that. i think the north korean regime
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shift towards cyber revenue-generating operations was well-timed because it actually was in place prior to the pandemic and so i think the leadership, license is the leadership has a potential source of revenue that we were a little bit slow to catch onto. i know there was some good work out of csis on this, but overall there is this shift we've seen attending to earn revenues which don't require a lot of border crossing and travel. so in some sense the regime came into the pandemic with that potential advantage. now obviously there has still been constraints in the pandemic, but i actually think in some ways the border control has hit ordinary people in north korea harder because they were just more dependent on physical border crossings of goods and
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people. so i think it's important to sort of bracket that. on the question of rok policy and how its shape the north korean diaspora, it's a great question one of the papers i did for the lab looked at north korean migration experiences, and a look at what happened. we diss aggregate -- disaggregated for north korea to end up in south korea and we did this that using a collection of their almost 200 over 200 north korean -- unser, almost 200 north koreans, north korean members of the diaspora of left and written a memoir in either english entry. entry. they went through and systematically coded all those a look at what happens to people during different stages of immigration journey. one of the things we found is often the first encounter with the south korean government was not when actually got to the physical territory of the rok. it was a broad going to a
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consulate, going to an embassy, a citizen of the rok who happened to be in candid or third country for help at a lot of them reported actually those initial requests for help were not successful. that there were cases where they legally and through ethnic identity thought of themselves as koreans. they expected the south korean government would treat them as citizens which is south korean law treats north koreans as citizens, but when they approached embassies or consulates abroad that awful and were not given the same right or status that someone are holding nra passport would have been. and so you can talk about at the level of policy but the level of individual migrant and refugee experience, they didn't feel
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solely equal members of south korea, the south korean quality, and that actually extended all the way through the process of being debriefed by the national intelligence service and ane three months in which they were at the camp. what was interesting about that, that process is not necessarily knowing whether you can count on the south korean state to include you if you're not already in south korea, actually has a important effect in particular on some of the folks who chose to go to the united states. because we saw this, they were two things that were consistent themes when we asked people why did you choose to come to the u.s.? some of our responsibility south korea first and then came to the united states to study or to work before temporary purposes, and some of them were refugees would gone through the process outlined by the act. we looked at both groups but
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consistently people said it was a sense there was greater economic and social opportunity in the united states but a secondary theme really was a desire to avoid what they saw as a potential for discrimination and the lack of socioeconomic mobility in the rok itself. i know that something rok policy has tried to grapple with but it seems to me to be an ongoing issue from our survey results and it's why we see people choosing to seek other countries as resettlement destinations. i think, i guess the final point is that we also in the survey tried to disentangle what is it that somebody who comes from an authoritarian system like north korea thinks is important about democratic citizenship? i think this is a fascinating question with a plot to teach all of us right now as we grapple with questions of what american democracy should look like and global democracy. but one of the things they came up very strong in the survey result is who left north korea really prioritize what we would
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call a civil libertarian notion of democratic citizenship. the overwhelmingly, off the charts people said say thef a democratic government is to provide people with their individual rights and freedoms. so very strong emphasis on civil liberty. that's kind at odds with the approach taken at least in some cases by the moon government where those kinds of activities freedom to speech, freedom of information, freedom to do balloon launches that had been constricted by some of the policies that this administration has taken, i know there was some discussion of that earlier but i would just note that we now have some evidence that there's a real structure of democratic citizenship the people left north korea prioritize were civil liberties are really
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important. so to the extent that there are many hands of not having very expensive tolerance and protection for civil liberties by any government, that's going to run into or be at odds with the way that north koreans think about what's important about freedom and democracy. in the book again we tried to diss aggregate that and explore it in a little more detail in the book to be released. >> right. really interesting stuff. so we have a little bit of time in this question from the audience, so first question is, and i think both of you can comment on of this. with women dominating market trade in north korea how does their participation in intert with pre-existing gender norms? and what is the impact on reshaping of social relations in civil society within the country? >> sheena can take that one, two, but let me take a stab at
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that. that's absolutely correct that women are dominating the market and especially when it comes to the informal markets because men have to work in their state jobs, the job they're required to work in where as women especially if they stay at home have extra time so you are able to work in the markets. there is recognition with the north korean society of women becoming the breadwinners or women making money. there's actually a great podcast on nk news with hannah who directs north korea database. they just came out with a report on the household and the affects that new markets are having on women. she talks about some of the dynamics of the social relations between husbands and wives, and there's a tension because there's a recognition that women
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are becoming breadwinners but yet north korea is still patriarchal society so that leads to tensions. in terms of civil society, if you think about women working in markets, i have thought about this a lot, i have talked about this with a couple of colleagues i wrote a report about markets and civil society building blocks. we tried to explore whether women, these women are forming informal trust networks. when you work in a market you have to have information. you have to know about prices of goods. you have to know who is selling what, and that means you have to talk to one another. we wondered if that would naturally lead to conversations among women. the rise of a public sphere of sorts as women interact. and we actually even wondered whether women, you required to
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meet two times a week in this association, but what purpose does it serve for women who are on the sideline, talking about their market activity. we actually do think there's a lot of potential there, as a things like entrepreneurship. if women want to know how do i start a business, you're not going to ask the state how to begin my own business? you're going to ask someone who is had that experience before. again this is women speaking of talking informally and is not being regulated by the state. so again we are seeing this is what we mean by the building blocks of civil society as informal trust networks, as women are having conversations with one another about markets but maybe but other stuff. maybe about the weather, maybe about gossip, maybe about the south korean drama, who knows? that's getting more dangerous, but to us that is the early tropics of the civil society when you can get people to begin talking and have this course that is not being, that is not
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intervening by the state. just some thoughts about women and markets and civil society. >> great. sheena, à la give you the last word. >> i would second a lot of what andrew has said about the changing dynamic in north korea itself as a relates to migration, obviously this gives north korean women more opportunity to cross the border as part of economic activity but that also places him at increased risk for trafficking and gender-based violence. and comparatively, one of the really interesting things out of don't think we have a great handle on is that i don't think there's been a diaspora where it's predominately women and children and so many single mothers. i think that raises all sorts of really interesting questions about resettlement policy but also about sort of patterns of political engagement and part of
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why we have seen some of the defectors who have become advocates really focus on women's rights. for lots of interesting questions that i think we are just to explore, and would be great areas for people to keep researching in looking into because they are fascinating and we don't have full answers yet. >> thanks. well, this is a terrific discussion and i feel like we've only hit the tip of the iceberg. there's a lot more we could talk about that unfortunately we are at the end of our time. i want to thank andrew and sheena for a very interesting discussion about north korean markets society, the diaspora, things that we don't, in so to the national security-based discussion in washington, d.c., we don't talk enough about because that's probably where there's the most change that will come in north korea, inside the black box.
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so again there's clearly much more we could talk about but that is why the audience can look up your research on our website which we put up all the work that you've done there. they can certainly learn more from that. i want to thank andrew yeo, bridget coggins, john delury, sheena for joining us today. i want to thank -- is not on the screen but she was the person who has been leading us all in this big lab effort. thank her for all her work in keeping us, hurting as cats and keeping us all together. thanks again to csis and the academy for korean study for the support of the work of the scholars and best wishes to her scholars for the rest of your research. i know all of you are still very much deeply in different stages of the work and we wish you the best of luck there. and finally to our audience, thank you for tuning in.
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