Seminar by POSCO Fellow Victor Cha

Recorded at the East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
Aug. 19, 2013

Eighteen months ago, the soon-to-be leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) was seen weeping uncontrollably as he walked alongside the hearse carrying his dead father, Kim Jong-il. He was young, inexperienced, and unqualified. Who would have thought that eighteen months later, junior Kim would be riding high in Pyongyang? The regime's new ways include promulgation of high heels and miniskirts for women, the commissioning of amusement parks and (pirated) Walt Disney productions for children, and the hosting of former NBA player Dennis Rodman. At the same time, the regime has overseen a series of missile and nuclear tests and threatened the United States with nuclear annihilation. Is Kim Jong-un a modern ruler or are he and his entourage ridiculously out of touch? Is there any semblance of constructive or positive change afoot in this country under this new leadership?

Victor Cha holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in Government and Asian Studies at Georgetown University, where he is director of the East Asia National Resource Center and the new M.A. program in Asian Studies. He formerly served on the National Security Council staff as director of Asian affairs, and as the U.S. Deputy Head of delegation for the Six Party talks. His new book is The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Ecco, 2013).

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