This event will begin with an informal presentation by Professor Jong Kun Choi, who will delve into his firsthand experiences during the period of 2017 to 2022 when the Moon Jae In Administration actively pursued peace making policies on the Korean Peninsula. This included negotiations with North Korea and facilitating the talks between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Professor Choi will not only discuss the reasons for the growing global significance of Korean Peninsula peace during these turbulent times but also shed light on the implications and lessons drawn from his five-year involvement in shaping national security policies on the front lines.

A roundtable discussion will then commence, focusing on the themes presented by Professor Choi, with key contributions being made from Professor Timo Kivimäki and Glyn Ford. This discussion will be chaired by John Nilsson-Wright, and there will be opportunity for audience questions and interactions with roundtable speakers.


Professor Jong Kun Choi, professor of international relations at Yonsei University and the Global Chair Professor at the University of Bath, boasts an impressive career. He served as the Presidential Secretary for Peace & Arms Control from 2017 to 2019 and later as Presidential Secretary for Peace Planning from 2019 to 2020 at the Office of National Security in the Blue House. In addition, he was the first civilian and scholar to hole the esteemed position of 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, from 2020 to 2022 under South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Professor Choi played a pivotal role in two Inter-Korean summits and led South Korea’s negotiation team in successfully concluding the Comprehensive Military Agreement, a very first operational arms control agreement between two Korea’s militaries. His leadership was particularly crucial in shaping South Korea’s foreign policies during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also spearheaded negotiations with the Iranian government to secure the release of a South Korean tanker captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in 2021. His academic background includes a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Ohio State University. His academic articles were published at International Security, Review of International Relations, Washington Quarterly and many others. He is also the author of his inaugural book, “The Power of Peace: A Chronicle of the Moon Jae-in Government’s Courage in the Peace Process” (Medici Media, 248 pages, published in June 2023).

Professor Timo Kivimäki is Professor of International Relations at the University of Bath and Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Sejong Institute (in Seoul, Republic of Korea). Professor Kivimäki joined the University of Bath in January 2015. Previously he has held professorships at the University of Helsinki, University of Lapland, and at the University of Copenhagen. Professor Kivimäki has also been director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (Copenhagen) and the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Helsinki. In addition to purely academic work Professor Kivimäki has been a frequent consultant to the Finnish, Danish, Dutch, Russian, Malaysian, Indonesian and Swedish governments, as well as to several UN and EU organizations on conflict and terrorism. Professor Kivimäki has been advisor to Finland’s former President, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari in peace processes in Indonesia’s Aceh and Papua, and in Myanmar. President Ahtisaari has publicly praised that Professor Kivimäki’s advises in Aceh Peace Talks were “vital for the success of the process” and that his help in peace processes in Indonesia and Myanmar were “worth gold.”

Glyn Ford was a Member of the European Parliament for 25 years (1984-2009). Much of his focus was on the International Trade and Foreign Affairs Committees, particularly with respect to East Asia. He has travelled to the DPRK some 50 times since his initial visit in 1997. Mr. Ford continues his engagement with Pyongyang through the Brussels based NGO Track2Asia. He is director of Track2Asia, a Board Member of the Pacific Century Institute and has published North Korea on the Brink: Struggle for Survival (2008), Talking to North Korea (2018) – both translated into Korean – and Riding Two Horses; Labour and Europe (2022) and Picturing the DPRK (2023).

Dr John Nilsson-Wright is Associate Professor in Modern Japanese Studies, Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.



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