Views on the Pacific: The Korean Peninsula and the Asia-Pacific Rebalance

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Symposium panelists Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, Consul General Moon Duk-ho, trade policy advisor Robert Hamilton and Korean studies professor Clark W. Sorensen will discuss military, diplomatic and economic aspects of Washington's relationship to Asia-Pacific.

(Above: the Korean peninsula at night. South Korea is bottom right, Russia and China are upper left, North Korea is dark area at center. Photo NASA Earth Observatory.)

University of Washington Tacoma will host a three-star general, a diplomat, an international trade expert and a Korean studies professor at the fourth Views on the Pacific symposium, to be held on Thursday, October 29 at 4 p.m., in William W. Philip Hall on the UW Tacoma campus.

The symposium topic is “The Korean Peninsula: Security, Trade and Prosperity in the 21st Century.” Panel participants include Lieutenant General Stephen R. Lanza, Commanding General of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps; Moon Duk-ho, Consul General with the Korean Consulate General in Seattle; Robert Hamilton, Trade Policy Advisor to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; and Clark W. Sorensen, director of the Center for Korea Studies at UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

The moderator of the discussion will be Saadia Pekkanen, associate director of the Jackson School.

The Views on the Pacific series was launched in 2013 as a way to bring the community into discussions about the U.S. “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region. This shift in strategic focus involves more than just military initiatives, embracing diplomatic and economic spheres—in other words, extending across the “whole of government.” Panelists explore the connections between international business, military roles and activities, diplomacy and the complex webs of international relations that bind Washington state to the Asia-Pacific region.

The symposium on the Korean peninsula comes at a time when a top Navy leader, Admiral Harry Harris, Jr., the commanding officer of U.S. Pacific Command, has described North Korea as “the greatest threat” faced by the Navy in the region (“Harris Says North Korea is Pacom’s Biggest Worry, Gives Report on Asia Rebalance,” U.S. Department of Defense, Oct. 10, 2015).

North Korea’s militarism and nuclear aspirations will be only one of the topics the symposium panel will address, which will include an examination from the Korean perspective of treaties like the Trans Pacific Partnership (to which Korea is not a party), territorial disputes such as competing claims to the South and East China Seas, and academic partnerships such as UW’s long prominence in Korean studies through the Center for Korea Studies.

A hallmark of the Views on the Pacific series is the focus on local implications, and the Korea discussion will be no exception. South Korea is the sixth-largest export trading partner with Washington, a relationship solidified since the 2012 signing of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Seattle and Tacoma are among the top cities in the U.S. with Korean-American populations. Washington has the third-highest concentration of Korean-Americans of any U.S. state.

The relationship in the Asia-Pacific region among stability, security and commerce, and how they interact, is a vital interest nationally and for Washington. Previous Views on the Pacific panels have discussed issues such as the role of leadership in regional partnership-building and how humanitarian aid affects regional stability.

About the panelists:

Moon Duk-ho – Consul General, Korean Consulate General, Seattle. Educated at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea, Mr. Moon has been in Korean diplomatic service since 1987, serving in Africa, Vietnam, France, Iraq and the United States. His professional work includes policy analyses of nuclear disarmament and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

Robert Hamilton—Trade Policy Advisor to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Mr. Hamilton has advised state leadership on trade policy for almost two decades, serving as a state liaison to federal trade negotiations and defending state programs subject to legal challenge under international trade agreements.

Stephen R. Lanza—Lt. Gen. Lanza is commanding general of I Corps, headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and one of the U.S. Army’s principal means of executing the Asia-Pacific rebalance. His service to the Army has included five operational deployments, and commands at every level from platoon to Corps. He was educated at West Point, Central Michigan University and the National War College.

Clark W. Sorensen—Dr. Sorensen is director of the Center for Korea Studies at UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Korean Studies. Recently his research has focused on rural Koreans and the impacts of economic and social modernization.

Views on the Pacific is sponsored by the Pierce Military Business Alliance.

What: Views on the Pacific Symposium – “The Korean Peninsula: Security, Trade and Prosperity in the 21st Century”
When: October 29, 2015, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: William W. Philip Hall, 1918 Pacific Ave., UW Tacoma campus
If You Go: Admission is free, but registration is required

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / October 22, 2015
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or