The Korean Peninsula Tensions and the Role of Other Powers

26 February 2013

6:00 – 7:45pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:45pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London, NW1 4QP


After the “successful” launch on 12 December 2012 of yet another rocket in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874, the threat posed by North Korea appears ever more real. The stability of the Korean peninsula is not just a regional concern but also an issue for Europe, given the proliferation relationship between North Korea and Iran. How have political developments in the peninsula affected recent relations between the two Koreas? Can there be any easing of tensions between them under the new South Korean leader, Park Geun-hye? There are various reasons why multilateral engagement with, and coercion of, North Korea have failed to promote denuclearisation. Thomas Plant of ICSA, King’s College London, will consider if there is potential for progress, and look at Japan’s likely contribution under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Noriyuki Shikata, Political Minister at the Japanese Embassy in London, will discuss Japan’s perspective on the recent situation in the Korean Peninsula and explore the collaboration among Japan, the US, the UK, South Korea and China aimed at tackling the issue. The seminar will be chaired by Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Noriyuki Shikata

Noriyuki Shikata is Political Minister at the Embassy of Japan in UK.  He was Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Director of Global Communications at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Japan (2010-2012). He was international media spokesperson at PMO, always accompanying the Prime Ministers’ trips overseas. He was the recipient of 2011 Gold Standard Award for Political Communications, at awards hosted by Public Affairs Asia. He graduated from the Law Department of Kyoto University in 1986. After entering MOFA in 1986, he worked at the Korea desk, and graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, completing its Masters in Public Policy Program (International Affairs/Security) in 1989. His previous overseas postings include the Embassy in Washington, D.C.(1989 – 91), and the Delegation to the OECD in Paris(1999-2002). Between 2004 and 2010, he was Director of Status of U.S. Forces Agreement Division, Director of International Press Division, Director in Charge of Economic Relations with North America, and Director of Economic Treaties Division, International Legal Affairs, Bureau of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). His publications includeEnergy Policy of the Republic of Korea (2002: IEA; contributor), amongst others.

Thomas Plant

Thomas Plant is Research Fellow at the International Centre for Security Analysis (ICSA), King’s College London.  His main research interest is in North Korean issues, though he also works on wider regional security in East Asia and, more broadly, on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  He joined ICSA on secondment from the Ministry of Defence; he has also spent time at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he worked on proliferation issues in the Middle East and East Asia.

Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick (Chair)  is Director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. His programme focuses on nuclear and missile challenges posed by Iran, North Korea and other outlier states, and on nuclear security and nuclear disarmament issues. He is the editor of North Korean Security Challenges (July 2011) and of five other IISS Strategic Dossiers on countries and regions of proliferation concern. He has lectured throughout the world and is a frequent media commentator on proliferation topics. He joined the IISS in October 2005 after a 26-year career in the US Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation (acting). He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and he attended a one-year post-graduate study programme (1990-1991) at the Japanese National Institute of Defence, where his dissertation on Korean unification was published in journals in Japan and South Korea.


North Korean Human Rights Film Festival ‘Kimjongilia’

Date: 27 April 2012, 6pm

Title: Kimjongilia (2009)

Director: N.C. Heikin

Running time: 76min (Eng subs)

Venue: Multi-purpose Hall, Korean Cultural Centre UK

          (No bookings required)

Organised by Christian Solidarity Worldwide

About the Film

North Korea is one of the world's most isolated nations. For sixty years, North Koreans have been governed by a totalitarian regime that controls all information entering and leaving the country. A cult of personality surrounds its two recent leaders: first, Kim Il Sung, and now his son, Kim Jong Il. For Kim Jong Il's 46th birthday, a hybrid red begonia named kimjongilia was created, symbolizing wisdom, love, justice, and peace. The film draws its name from the rarefied flower and reveals the extraordinary stories told by survivors of North Korea's vast prison camps, of devastating famine, and of every kind of repression. All of the interviews featured took place in South Korea, where the defectors now live. Their experiences are interspersed with archival footage of North Korean propaganda films and original scenes that illuminate the contours of daily life for a people whose every action is monitored and whose every thought could bring official retribution. Along with the survivors' stories, Kimjongilia examines the mass illusion possible under totalitarianism and the human rights abuses required to maintain that illusion. Ultimately, the defectors are inspiring, for despite the extremes they have suffered, they still hold out hope for a better future.

In deep… water

470 places in Bangkok truly ‘under water’


A total of 470 spots in Bangkok are now under 80cm of water or more, affecting more than 800,000 people, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said on Monday.A survey by district offices of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration showed this was the case at 95 places in Sai Mai, 81 in Nong Khaem, 71 in Bang Phlat, 48 in Khlong Sam Wa, 34 in Bang Khae, 31 in Min Buri and the rest in other flood-hit districts.”The BMA has ordered the district offices and their agencies to pay special attention to these places because a large number of people, especially the elderly, have not evacuated the area,” MR Sukhumbhand said.

“The BMA will have to give them food, drinking water and other items for survival,” he said.Bangkok authorities today declared Bang Chan sub-district of Khlong Sam Wa district and more sub-districts of Lat Phrao evacuation areas because of heavy flooding.

The entire district of Khlong Sam Wa is now an evacuation area.
The sub-districts of Lat Phrao that have been declared as evacuation zones are the whole of Chorakhebua sub-district and parts of Lat Phrao sub-district (along both sides of Khlong Lat Phrao to the east to Lat Pla Khao road, both sides of Lat Phrao-Wang Hin road, north of Prasert Manukit road, and both sides of Sena Nikhom road.)
The people in the two sub-districts are advised to seek refuge at a BMA evacuation centre.
The administration also declared more areas under special watch in Huay Khwang district.
They are communities along Khlong Bang Sue, Khlong Lat Phrao, and Lat Phrao road.This morning, the water level along Phahon Yothin Road from Kasetsart University to Ratchayothin and Lat Phrao intersections was 50 to 80 centimetres deep, reports said.The road was impassable to small vehicles and commercial buildings, shops, offices and banks along the road have been closed.The Bangkok Transit System (BTS) skytrain and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) underground trains are still operating as usual although the floodwater around Phahon Yothin and Chatuchak stations was over 50cm deep. They are the fastest modes of transport for people travelling to and from the city.The floodwater was creeping toward Saphan Khwai intersection, in an inner district of Bang Sue.The flood this morning inundated the Kampaeng Phet intersection near Chatuchak market. The water was 30 to 40 centimetres deep, impassable for small vehicles.

Shops in Saphan Khwai area were reinforcing their floodwalls, placing more sandbags.
On Vibhavadi Rangsit road, the runoff from Lat Phrao intersection arrived at headquarters of the country’s largest local daily newspaper, Thai Rath, flooding all lanes of the main road outside the building.
The water was reported at 50cm deep and impassable for small cars.

From: Bangkokpost (online)