Policy Leaders Forum: Dr. Woo Yoon-keun on S. Korean Politics

January 26, 2017

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Dr. Woo Yoon-keun, Secretary General of the National Assembly Secretariat of the Republic of Korea, was hosted by the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies on January 25, 2017 for a discussion on the current and future direction of South Korean politics. While at Boston University, Dr. Woo also visited with faculty and students at the Questrom School of Business. 

The event was part of the Policy Leaders Forum series at the Pardee School that brings senior international policy makers to Boston University for important policy conversations with faculty and students. Guests included faculty and experts from Boston University, Former President of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Nam P. Suh, and Consul General Song Jun Ohm and Vice Consul General Songhwan Kwon of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Boston.

In addition to serving as the current Secretary General of the National Assembly Secretariat, Dr. Woo has served as a member of the 17th, 18th and 19th National Assembly; Floor Leader of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD); NPAD Chairman of the Policy Committee and Chairman of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly.

Dr. Woo’s presentation focused on the paradoxical situation Northeast Asia finds itself in — marked by the disconnect between growing economic cooperation and interdependence and a lack of cooperation on security.

Rising instability and uncertainties due to changing regional dynamics has led to both cooperation and disputes between countries, according to Dr. Woo, including increasing pressure from Beijing over Seoul’s decision to station the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense in United States Forces Korea and tension between the U.S. and China over the South China Sea.

Dr. Woo said the top priority currently facing Northeast Asia, and the key to maintaining peace and cooperation throughout the region, is finding a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear issue.

Following dinner and discussion, Pardee School Dean Adil Najam presented Dr. Woo with a commemorative coin featuring the Pardee School motto, “Advancing Human Progress,” and Boston University seal. 

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