Upcoming events







Latest publications

The more things change…

What is both amazing and depressing about the diplomacy following the Singapore Summit are the constants that have re-emerged following a period of the most dramatic change on the peninsula in decades. North Korea still pursues its byungjin strategy while the US still pursues CVID. China undercuts economic pressure on the North through commerce, while South Korea presses ahead with an inter-Korean cooperation agenda ahead of denuclearization. And no one seems to care about human rights abuses propagated by the regime.

Negotiating the peace: Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula

The KF-VUB Korea Chair, Henry Jackson Society and London Asia Pacific Centre for Social Science launched a new report yesterday on “Negotiating the peace: Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula”. This new country-by-country analysis assesses each player’s negotiating aims and objectives and, in this way, reveals where opportunities and challenges might lie in the process of North Korean peace-bargaining. It identifies that the Libya Model won’t work and any process will involve step-by-step disarmament for sanctions relief.

Europe and the Potential Dismantlement of North Korea’s Nuclear Warheads

South Korean media report that the US has proposed to North Korea the possibility of shipping half of its nuclear warheads to the United Kingdom, where they would be dismantled. Reports also state that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has requested the United Kingdom to provide technical support to North Korea during the dismantlement process. Indeed, discussions taking place in Europe regarding the potential role that European countries could play if and as North Korea takes step towards denuclearization include this very same matter.

Foreign Policy Looks South: Seoul’s ‘New Southern Policy’

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in the middle of a trip to India and Singapore. This visits fits within Seoul’s ‘New Southern Policy’, an effort by the Moon government to strengthen economic and diplomatic links with ASEAN and India. On the economic front, President Moon seeks to increase trade and investment between South Korea and its southern neighbours. Previous South Korean governments signed free trade agreements with both ASEAN and India, but increasing protectionism in the US and trade sanctions from China in 2017 convinced Seoul that it should further diversify its economic links.

Kim Jong-un’s Tools of Coercion

Last fall and winter, the world was tense with the real possibilities of a military conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula as a result of Kim Jong-un’s testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the North’s sixth and largest nuclear test, and the rhetorical war with U.S. President Donald Trump. While the threat of another Korean war seems to be in the rear-view mirror, for now, we have to remember that Kim has been expanding, sharpening, and demonstrating other tools of coercive diplomacy, including selective engagement, cyberattacks, and chemical weapons.

U.S.-North Korea Summit Explained: the Key Players’ Views

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called yesterday’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the ‘summit of the century’. From a South Korean perspective, the Trump-Kim meeting was indeed a make-or-break moment. Had the summit failed, inter-Korean rapprochement would have continued but it would also have been significantly slowed down. But the fact that the summit declaration, and subsequent press conference by Trump, make clear that US diplomacy will continue provides the Moon government with the necessary back-up to carry on with its rapprochement policy.

The Second Moon-Kim Summit: the Koreas Decide to Take Control

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their second summit on Saturday. It is no exaggeration to state that this meeting was as, if not more, significant than their first summit that took place less than a month before. Saturday’s meeting was the first-ever inter-Korea summit that did not require weeks if not months of preparation. Instead, it was quickly arranged in a few hours following a conversation between Moon and Kim using their recently-established hotline. The two Koreas thus sent a message to the rest of the world – they can meet any time they wish and at short notice if necessary, and they will meet regardless of the state of relations between North Korea and the US.

Jobs, Fairness and Peace: the First Anniversary of the Moon Government

One year from his election, Moon Jae-in is a very popular president with approval ratings hovering around 80 per cent. The reason for his popularity is, to an extent, fairly simple: he has followed the promises that he made during last year’s election campaign. This refers both to domestic affairs and inter-Korean relations. With regards to the former, President Moon has been implementing a series of job boosting measures. He wants to address a perceived lack of good-quality jobs. Furthermore, his government is seeking to improve social equality.

Inter-Korean Summit Explained: the Key Players’ Views

This edition assesses South Korean, Japanese, American and Chinese views of the Inter-Korean Summit in April 2018. Contributing authors are Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Tongfi Kim, Janka Oertel and Linde Desmaele.

From Nuclear Threats to Nuclear Talks: a Big Win for President Donald Trump?

U.S. President Donald Trump surprised the world by accepting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation to talk, thereby setting the scene for potentially the first ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president. A Trump-Kim summit, which American officials say will take place this coming May or June at a location yet to be determined, would mark a turning point in US-North Korea relations. After a year of escalating tensions and insults between the two leaders, the prospect of talks seems like a welcome development. Americans have looked at North Korea as the land of lousy options for several decades now, so why not try the unprecedented?

Latest podcasts

Podcast: Assessing the third inter-Korean summit of 2018

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Tongfi Kim & Linde Desmaele discuss expectations for the third inter-Korean summit of 2018 between South Korean President Moon Jae in and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. This podcast was recorded on the first day of the summit and...

Podcast: Assessing Inter-Korean and US-North Korea Relations

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Jonathan Cheng to discuss the current state of inter-Korean and US-North Korea relations, as well as his experience covering recent summits involving North Korea. Featuring: Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo (KF-VUB Korea Chair) &...

Podcast: Assessing Pompeo’s visit to North Korea, 9 July 2018

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Elise Hu and John Delury to discuss Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's third visit to North Korea and to reflect about developments in the Korean Peninsula throughout 2017-18. Featuring: Ramon Pacheco Pardo, KF-VUB Korea...

Podcast: Assessing The Trump-Kim Summit, 14 June 2018

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Tongfi Kim and Linde Desmaele to discuss the responses of key players (China, Japan, U.S., South Korea) to the 12th June summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un....

Previous events

KF-VUB Korea Chair and CSIS Korea Chair jointly organised a discussion about the recent flurry of diplomatic activities in the Korean Peninsula, including the main takeaways of the inter-Korean summit, the significance of the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, and the prospects of denuclearization and peace with North Korea.

Featuring: Dr. Victor Cha (CSIS Korea Chair), HE Kim Hyoung-zhin (Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Belgium and the EU),  Dr. Janka Oertel (Transatlantic Fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States), and Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo (KF-VUB Korea Chair).

Visit the event page.



About the Chair

The KF-VUB Korea Chair at the Institute for European Studies is the primary contact point in Europe on policy issues related to Korea and the Korean Peninsula.

A joint initiative between the Korea Foundation and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Chair plays a strategic role in furthering Europe-Korea relations. It builds links between Europe and Korea through a number of activities and partnerships, and contributes actively to increasing the possibilities for their future cooperation on bilateral, regional and global levels.

The KF-VUB Korea Chair was launched in Brussels in October 2017 and in Seoul in May 2018. It acts as an independent platform in Brussels and across Europe to advance academically rigorous and informed discussions on policy questions that are of relevance to the Republic of Korea and Europe. It conducts policy research and discussions on a wide range of areas including nuclear weapons and WMD, trade, finance, cyber security, counter-terrorism, climate change, science and technology, among others.

The Chair holder is Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo who is also a Senior Lecturer at King’s College London.

Read the KF-VUB Korea Chair booklet for more information.


Pyeongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018
🔽Full text🔽

#InterKoreanSummit #peace #PeaceANewFuture

🇪🇺EU steps up its strategy for connecting 🌍Europe and 🌏Asia
The @EU_Commission and @FedericaMog today adopted a Joint Communication #EuroAseanConnectivity

Load More...
© Korea Chair – Vrije Universiteit Brussel – 2018