On Thursday 11 April, the AIIA National Office, in partnership with the Korea Foundation, convened the third Korea-Oceania Next Generation Policy Expert Forum, bringing together a delegation of senior Korean academics with a group of mostly early- to mid-career academics and policy professionals from Australia and New Zealand with an interest in Korea. The roundtable event was held at the AIIA Victoria Branch in Melbourne and included contributions from 29 participants.
Summit diplomacy emerged last year as an important feature of American and South Korean approaches to North Korea, and panellists and participants at the forum considered the possibilities for and questioned the future of such summitry, given the failure of the United States and South Korea to reach an agreement at their bilateral summit in Vietnam.
South Korea’s place within its region was also a topic for discussion, with Australian and New Zealand academics interested to hear whether discourse in South Korea about China’s rise was similar to that in Australia or New Zealand. The forum also discussed the regional effects of a North Korea capable of delivering a nuclear payload far beyond its borders.
Finally, the future of South Korea-Australian and South Korea-New Zealand relations was canvassed. Participants at the forum strongly suggested that because these three countries had very similar values and outlooks on the region they could increase their efforts to strengthen the rules-based international order and to coordinate policies on regional interests that they shared.