Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation Democracy Seminar Series
"Time to Plan for a New Chapter in US Relations with North Korea"
Donald Gregg, Former Ambassador to South Korea
About the Seminar
The death of Kim Jong Il and the ascension of Kim Jong Un to power in Pyongyang give the US the best chance it probably will ever have to start afresh with North Korea. Kim Jong Un, in his late twenties, with a couple of years of education in Switzerland, is going to be around for a long time, barring an internal upheaval in North Korea, which is in no one’s interest. Kim Jong Il took to the grave with him the issues of the sinking of the South Korean ship, the Cheonan, and the shelling of the South Korean island. One distinguished South Korean commentator has said that Kim Jong Un is the only North Korean leader to come to power with a relatively clean record. 2012 is a transitional year for every country involved in the Six-Party Talks. It provides an opportunity to prepare for 2013, when with a new president in Seoul, and, if President Obama is re-elected, progress can be made in establishing a real dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, and re-establishing the Six Party Talks.
About the Speaker
Donald Gregg was one of the most influential CIA operatives of our time and received the CIA's highest decoration, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. He served in Japan, Burma, Vietnam, and South Korea. Prior to his departure from Korea in 1993, Gregg received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, a decoration from the prime minister of Korea, and an honorary Ph.D. in international relations from Sogang University. In Washington D.C., he served on the National Security Council, as National Security Advisor to Vice President Bush, and as Ambassador to South Korea. After he retired from the U.S. government, he was President of the Korea Society for several years.