Upcoming Events

23 January, 08.30 – 09.30
4th Brussels Korea Breakfast Roundtable with Chung-in Moon


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.







KF-VUB Korea Chair publishes a new report: “Putting the strategic partnership to work”

The strategic partnership between the European Union and the Republic of Korea is strong and solid but is yet to reach its full potential. This is understandable considering bilateral relations were only upgraded to a fully-fledged strategic partnership in 2010, with agreements covering the political and security pillars entering into force, respectively, in 2014 and 2016. Read more…

Latest publications

North Korea’s Nuclear Problem: A More Pragmatic Approach Will Help

Despite the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in June, little progress was made on denuclearizing North Korea due to the clash between the U.S. and North Korea on the formula of denuclearization. Both sides are demanding the other to do its work upfront. Due to the inability to resolve this dilemma, North Korea’s nuclear problem has gotten worse during the last three decades. In order to maker a breakthrough, North Korea needs to come to the table as soon as possible recognizing that the political momentum for a negotiated solution in the U.S. may not last long due to President Trump’s domestic problems.

Moon and South Korea’s Global Role: Evolution Not Revolution

South Korea’s foreign policy has a global dimension, with priority given to development assistance, green growth and multilateralism. Taking a page from his two predecessors, President Moon Jae-in is focusing the global component of his foreign policy on these three issues. In the area of development assistance, South Korea emphasizes knowledge sharing. It serves as an example to developing countries across the world.

EU-ROK relations: Leveraging ASEM in uncertain times

As Brussels is preparing itself for the 12th ASEM Summit and the EU-ROK Summit that will take place on 18- 19 October, this is a good moment to take stock of the partnership and see how the EU and ROK can optimise their cooperation in the ASEM framework. At a time of accelerating global change and threats to the rules-based international system, the EU and South Korea have a massive joint interest to step up their cooperation and maximise the opportunities of the ASEM framework.

EU-ROK Relations: Putting the strategic partnership to work

The strategic partnership between the EU and the ROK is strong and solid. It is yet to reach its full potential though. This is understandable, considering that relations were only upgraded to a fully-fledged strategic partnership in 2010 and that the agreements covering the political and security pillars only entered into force in 2014 and 2016, respectively. In this report we identify, however, nine areas in which cooperation between the ROK and the EU could and, we believe, should be strengthened in the near future to help safeguard both parties’ interests at the global level.​

Inter-Korean Summit in Pyongyang Explained: The Key Players’ Views

This week’s inter-Korean summit and the September 19th joint Pyongyang declaration between South and North Korea reinforce Seoul’s push towards inter-Korean reconciliation. President Moon Jae-in was elected on a platform calling for engagement and rapprochement between South and North Korea as necessary steps to bring permanent and sustainable peace to the Korean Peninsula. His historic speech in front of a crowd of 150,000 North Koreans – a first for a South Korean president – symbolizes this approach.

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.

Listen to our podcasts

Podcast: Andrea Berger & John Nilsson-Wright on current US-DPRK and inter-Korean relations, 30 Nov

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Andrea Berger and John Nilsson-Wright to discuss the current state of US-North Korea relations, recent developments in South Korea-North Korea relations and the role of China.

Podcast: On current US-DPRK and inter-Korean relations & next steps ahead, 22 Nov

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Duyeong Kim and Youkyung Lee to discuss the slowdown in current US-DPRK relations, with the second Trump-Kim summit remaining unconfirmed, in relation to the ongoing strengthening of inter-Korean relations, as well as the role of China in this process. Further discussed is Kim Jong-un’s potential visit to South Korea and what can be gained from it.

Podcast: Assessing President Moon’s trip to Europe, 16 Oct

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Jina Kim and Nicola Casarini to discuss the South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s trip to Europe, developments in the US-DPRK-ROK peace-making and denuclearisation process, and the invitation to the Pope to visit North Korea.

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....

Follow us on social media

In @KoreaChair_EU's new policy brief "North Korea's Nuclear Problem", Dr Yoon Young-kwan argues that progress on #denuclearization can be made if #DPRK seizes the political momentum and #US takes a more pragmatic approach. @SNUnow Read full brief: https://t.co/yNN3zuMGLG

Today, South and North Korea agreed to hold a ceremony on Dec 26 for the railway and road modernization project. The ceremony will be held at Panmun station in North Korea. For the ceremony to take place, the UNSC would have to issue a sanctions waiver.

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© Korea Chair – Vrije Universiteit Brussel – 2018