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Ex-envoy to take part in U. of I. panel on North Korean nuclear issue

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor


Editor’s note: Former U.S. ambassador to Korea Thomas C. Hubbard and Cornell University professor Jue-Jung Suh (pronounced jay-jong suh) will be available for interviews on Oct. 17, following their participation in the roundtable discussion that begins at 3:30 p.m. in 101 Armory Building, 505 E. Armory Ave., Champaign.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — An informal, public forum on the North Korean nuclear crisis will take place next week at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The roundtable discussion on “The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Diplomatic Options and Security Implications” is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 17) in 101 Armory Building, 505 E. Armory Ave., Champaign.

Sponsored by the U. of I.’s Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security and the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, the forum will feature input from guest speakers Thomas C. Hubbard, a former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea, and Jae-Jung Suh, a Cornell University professor of government.

ACDIS Associate Director Matt Rosenstein said the session was organized after the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – commonly known as North Korea – that it had conducted a successful underground test of a nuclear weapon.

The claim came following a period of tense relations between North Korea, its Asian neighbors, and the United States. Rosenstein said this period was characterized by “the disintegration of the Agreed Framework, a 1994 accord signed by the United States and North Korea and designed to freeze DPRK’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for assistance with its civilian nuclear energy program.” At the same time, he said, there were “repeated threats by North Korea to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”

More recently, tensions were further fueled by other factors, Rosenstein said.

Among them, he said, were “the breakdown in January of the six-nation talks that sought a resolution to the crisis; the imposition of financial restrictions against North Korea by the United States; and DPRK’s launch of seven missiles into the Sea of Japan in July.”

“North Korea’s Oct. 9 nuclear test threatens to further upset an already delicate relationship with neighboring South Korea, and could potentially precipitate a regional arms race involving those countries as well as Japan and China,” Rosenstein said.

Hubbard, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2001-04, is a 39-year Foreign Service veteran who focused primarily on economic, political and military relations with key East Asian nations. He is a senior adviser on issues pertaining to Korea and other Asian countries for the law firm Akin Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.

Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Hubbard was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, a position he also held from 1993-96. Hubbard was a principal negotiator of the 1994 Agreed Framework, and was the first senior official to lead a U.S. government delegation to North Korea in 1994 when he was sent by President Clinton to secure the release of a U.S. Army pilot captured after his helicopter was shot down over North Korea.

Rosenstein said Hubbard plans to discuss the historical context that led to the present situation, current U.S. policy toward North Korea, and the challenges ahead.

Suh, who is co-editor of “Rethinking Security in East Asia: Identity, Power and Efficiency” (Stanford University Press) and the author of a forthcoming book on military alliances, will discuss U.S.-Korea relations and the Asian security balance. The Cornell University professor’s other scholarly work in this area includes the publication of numerous articles about the U.S.-Korean alliance, U.S. military strategy with respect to the Korean Peninsula, balance of power politics in Asia, and the impact of U.S. strategic doctrine on peace prospects in Asia.

More information about the event and the guest speakers is available from Rosenstein at or 217-244-0218.