Since former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died in December 2011, his third son, Kim Jong-un, has assumed the posts of Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and First Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea. Kim Jong-un has recently been awarded the title of Marshal. The transfer of power appears to have been smooth. In April, North Korea launched a supposed “satellite”, and international experts have warned North Korea against conducting a nuclear test. Meanwhile, politicians from the ruling and opposition parties in South Korea have discussed revision of their country’s North Korea policy prior to the presidential election in December. The United States and China have strategically taken both cooperative and confrontational approaches toward North Korea.
In this seminar, we will look closely at the situation on the Korean Peninsula under the new Kim Jong-un regime and examine the political implications for the neighboring countries. First, two researchers will provide their assessment and outlook for the new regime, and discuss the implications for the neighboring countries (the United States, South Korea, and other countries). Based on their presentations, panelists will exchange views on recent developments in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Professor Zhao and Professor Nakato will provide Chinese and Japanese perspectives respectively. Although Japan still faces her own specific issues including the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Koreans and diplomatic normalization talks between Japan and North Korea, we will discuss what role Japan should play in the region and in the world in the light of the issue’s international dimension.

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