Upcoming Events

1 Oct, Press Club Brussels

 2 Oct, Paris
In cooperation with IFRI

29 Oct, Washington D.C.
In cooperation with Brookings Institution and Asan Institute for Policy Studies

Past Events

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, with special focus on the security of the Korean Peninsula, EU-ROK relations and South Korea’s foreign policy. 

The Chair holder is Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo who is also a Reader in International Studies at King’s College London.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Injuries in the DPRK: The Looming Epidemic 

Mass casualty incidents such as building collapses and bus crashes are perhaps just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the injury burden in the DPRK – only the worst cases of injury are highlighted in the media. Current economic and geopolitical developments within and surrounding the DPRK point towards more future activity in sectors such as construction, traffic, and tourism. Thus, it is not unreasonable to anticipate a surge in accidents and injuries inside the DPRK. In this context, it is necessary to understand the North Korean healthcare system and its needs to be able to deal with the current and anticipated injury burden. Read more.

Survey analysis: One year after the Singapore summit

One year has passed since the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore. Diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula seems to have stalled following the failure of Trump and Kim to reach an agreement during their February 27-28 summit in Hanoi. What do the publics of the US, China, Japan and Russia think about the situation in the Korean Peninsula? Read more.

Latest publications

South Korea’s Cybersecurity and International Cooperation

Prompted by the exposed vulnerability of its highly connected society after North Korea’s cyberattacks in recent years, South Korea has set out to improve its cybersecurity infrastructure. Whilst important steps have been taken to outline a national cybersecurity strategy, a further risk assessment shows that a considerable threat remains and that South Korea stands to benefit from integrating cybersecurity into its international security cooperation agenda.

Trump’s meeting with Kim: historic, but more is needed

On Sunday, President Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to step into North Korea. In a historic move, Trump crossed over the military demarcation line separating the two Koreas across the DMZ and into the North Korean side. After a brief chat with Chairman Kim Jong-un, they joined President Moon Jae-in on the South Korean side for a trilateral meeting. In what was also a remarkable moment, a US president and a North Korean leader, thus, held talks on the southern side of the DMZ.

One year after the Singapore summit: an analysis of the views of the publics of the US, China, Japan and Russia about the situation in the Korean Peninsula

On the first anniversary of the Singapore summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un, the KF-VUB Korea Chair published the results of a survey on American, Chinese, Japanese and Russian views of US-North Korea and inter-Korean relations (available here). We wanted to know what the publics of these four countries think about the situation in the Korean Peninsula twelve months after this historic event. In this report, we analyse the reasons behind their views of the current situation in the Korean Peninsula.

Injuries in the DPRK: The Looming Epidemic

Mass casualty incidents such as building collapses and bus crashes are perhaps just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the injury burden in the DPRK – only the worst cases of injury are highlighted in the media. Current economic and geopolitical developments within and surrounding the DPRK point towards more future activity in sectors such as construction, traffic, and tourism. Thus, it is not unreasonable to anticipate a surge in accidents and injuries inside the DPRK. In this context, it is necessary to understand the North Korean healthcare system and its needs to be able to deal with the current and anticipated injury burden.

Getting Back to Singapore, US-North Korea Relations on the Anniversary of the First Trump-Kim Summit

In two new policy briefs, Dr. John Delury and Dr. Robert E. Kelly look at the (lack of) progress made since the first historical summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on 12 June 2018 in Singapore.

Survey analysis: One year after the Singapore summit

One year has passed since the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North KoreanChairman Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore. The summit marked the first meeting between the sittingleaders of both countries. There were also three inter-Korean summits between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim last year; only two had been held before since the end of the Korean War. Twelvemonths after the Singapore summit, however, diplomacy in the Korean Peninsula seems to have stalled following the failure of Trump and Kim to reach an agreement during their February 27-28 summit in Hanoi. In this context, what do the publics of the US, China, Japan and Russia think about the situation in theKorean Peninsula? After all, these four powers have a keen interest in its geopolitics and Northeast Asia more generally. And public opinion has the potential to influence foreign policy decisions. With this survey, we shed light on the views that the publics of these four countries hold regarding the present and futureof the Korean Peninsula. The focus of the survey is inter-Korean relations, US-North Korea relations and policy towards North Korea.

The global 5G race: South Korea speeds ahead

South Korea has become the first country in the world to launch commercial 5G services on 3 April. 5G economic benefits are estimated to include worldwide revenues of €225 billion by 2025 and a wealth of job creation. The US, China, South Korea and the EU are economic powerhouses vying to lead the unfolding global 5G market. US and China are strongly positioned in the current telecom market, but their growing 5G competition is spilling over into geopolitical competition. Wary of being swept up in US-China rivalry, the Moon government is banking on building strong 5G market competitiveness and doubling down on the IT sector which represents a critical economic growth engine domestically.

Can Donald Trump save South Korea-Japan relations?

President Trump is reportedly planning to demand payment from host countries of U.S. troops covering the entire cost of stationing plus 50 percent. Seoul and Tokyo should treat this so-called “Cost Plus 50” as a wake-up call to deal collaboratively with the threats their U.S. alliances are facing. South Korea and Japan need to coordinate their Special Measures Agreement negotiation strategies, not just to save money, but to preserve the long-term viability of U.S. alliances in East Asia. Above all, they must avoid buying U.S. favor at the expense of each other and appeasing U.S. adversaries such as China and Russia.

US Forces Korea in the balance: Time to go home?

Since entering office, US President Donald Trump has been determined to withdraw US troops from South Korea. In May 2018, he reportedly ordered the Pentagon to prepare options to draw down US Forces Korea (USFK). He also pledged to halt US-South Korea war games, and on his watch, the Pentagon replaced existing military drills with smaller, less expensive ones. US foreign policy pundits and lawmakers have expressed concern about these actions, citing them as another example of Trump’s lack of geopolitical insight and a dangerous concession to Pyongyang and Beijing. But albeit for reasons slightly different than those put forward by the White House, there is a case to be made that removing US troops from South Korea could be an important step in reaffirming Washington’s leadership over the region. 

Ask Europe’s Korea Experts: the second US-DPRK summit in Hanoi

In the aftermath of the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, we asked a group of leading Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia security experts based in Europe for their assessment of the outcome (the responses were collected before 4 March 18:00, Central European Time). A total of sixteen experts participated in the survey. Overall, the experts are optimistic about the continuation of diplomatic engagement between the United States and North Korea, as well as between both Koreas.

Listen to our podcasts

Episode 1: Bark Taeho, Trade Minister of the Republic of Korea (2011-13), on Korea’s trade policies and future challenges

In the first episode, KF-VUB Korea Chair invites Bark Taeho, Trade Minister of the Republic of Korea (2011-13), to share his experiences in government while negotiating or implementing three key FTA’s (KORUS, EU-Korea FTA, China-Korea FTA) and his role at the WTO.

Episode 10: Kim Hyun-wook & Rachel Minyoung Lee on North Korea, 17 July

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Kim Hyun-wook and Rachel Minyoung Lee to discuss the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula. Over the past months, following the unsuccessful summit in Hanoi, US-North Korea relations reached an impasse. After the historic meeting of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the DMZ on June 30, there is a realistic chance that negotiations between the United States and North Korea towards denuclearisation and the lifting of sanctions can resume. This is also an opportunity for the South Korean government and President Moon to revive the inter-Korean peace process and to move forward with the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration.

Episode 9: KF-VUB Korea Chair on US President Trump’s visit to North Korea, 8 July

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Tongfi Kim and Linde Desmaele to assess the historical visit of US President Donald Trump to North Korea. They discuss how this was a win for the US and both Koreas, and whether there might be a deal before the 2020 US elections.

Episode 8: Stephan Haggard on the Hanoi Trump-Kim Summit, 26 Feb

In this episode, Ramon Pacheco Pardo invites Stephan Haggard to discuss expectations for the nuclear negotiations at the 27-28 Feb Hanoi Summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Episode 7: 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.

Episode 6: 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.

Episode 5: 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.

Episode 4: 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...

Episode 3: 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) &...

Episode 2: 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...

Follow us on social media

On 1 Oct, @KoreaChair_EU is organising a discussion on 'The Korean Peninsula in flux: Nuclear weapons, trade, peace' with speakers Dr. Choi Byung-il, Distinguished Prof. Kim Won-soo, @tongfi_kim, Dr. Weinian Hu. RSVP & Programme: https://t.co/XSWGSkQzOY

New U.S. sanctions against N. Korean hackers and revelations about N. Korean malware show how Pyongyang’s cyber operations have become a crucial revenue stream and a security threat, U.S. and industry officials say. https://t.co/hFlpff4PXJ via @WSJ

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Read our publications
We publish monthly policy briefs and Explainers following impactful events on the Korean Peninsula.

Listen to our podcasts
We regularly host guests ranging from experts to journalists.

View our events
We organise events in Brussels and across Europe, as well as in the US and South Korea. 

The Europe Korea Expert Panel
A network of leading Europe-based experts on Korean and Northeast Asian affairs has been established to highlight European views on developments in the Korean Peninsula. 

© Korea Chair – Vrije Universiteit Brussel – 2018