4th Trilateral Conference
Korea at Crossroads: Geopolitical Upheaval and Scientific Innovation

2019.07.11 - 12

Chey Institute for Advanced Studies planned the US-Korea-China Trilateral Conference with the belief that communication between the three countries critical and necessary for peace and development in Northeast Asia. It is establishing itself as a forum for track-two discussion that convenes political and economic experts from the three countries with he aim of raising public awareness of the main issues facing Northeast Asia. The Trilateral Conference started with US-China relations, North Korean nuclear issues, and trade as sub-themes. Now, it has incorporated the topic of scientific innovation and its impact on geopolitical risks in order to assess the challenges and opportunities in the region from more comprehensive perspectives.

YOON Young-kwan, ZHANG Yunling, CHOI Byung-il, CHUNG Jae Ho, Richard COOPER, Evan A. FEIGENBAUM, Joseph YUN, KIM Sung-han, JIA Qingguo, Gary SAMORE, KIM Heung-Kyu, KIM Byung-yeon, FAN Gaoyue, PARK In-Kook, John PARK, ZHAO Xiaozhuo, Andrew HUNTER , LEE Sook Jong

Session and Lectures

  • This session focused on the US-China relations that are impacted by technological rivalry. Participants speculated that in order to “reconfigure” US-China relations, one needed to change both supreme leaders. A participant from China argued that there is not much room for cooperation between the US and China, apart from the North Korean nuclear issue. Another Chinese participant pointed out that the official primary concern of US national security is inter-state strategic competition.

    • YOON Young-kwan, Seoul National University
    • ZHANG Yunling, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, CASS
    • CHOI Byung-il, Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies
    • CHUNG Jae Ho, the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy, Seoul National University
    • Richard COOPER, Harvard University
    • Evan A. FEIGENBAUM, Caarnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • The second session looked at the North Korean nuclear issues from the perspectives of the three countries. In particular, questions including whether working-level negotiation between the US and North Korea will eventually lead to a roadmap towards North Korean denuclearization, whether a ‘small deal’ or ‘big deal’ will be reached between the two countries, and whether trilateral cooperation would be possible amidst the US-China trade war were explored.

    • Joseph YUN, (Former) US Department of State
    • KIM Sung-han, GSIS, Korea University
    • JIA Qingguo, School of International Studies, Peking University
    • Gary SAMORE, Brandeis University
    • KIM Heung-Kyu, Department of Political Science and Diplomacy, Ajou University
    • KIM Byung-yeon, Seoul National University
    • FAN Gaoyue, Sichuan University
  • During the last session, the impact of scientific innovation on geopolitical risks in Northeast Asia was addressed. A US participant raised a concern about “chronocentrism,” the belief that the era we are living in is an inflection point. Another participant emphasized that the key difference between the nuclear age and the current period is that now innovations are primarily software technologies, such as AI, cyber capabilities, rather than in hardware such as fighter jets. On the technological competition between the US and China, a Chinese participant pointed out that for over four decades the US and China have agreed on technological cooperation, creating mutual gain through joint projects, but following the landmark 2011 National Security Strategy Report, the trajectory of the US-China relations have taken malign turn, approaching a zero-sum game in terms of technological policy.

    • PARK In-Kook, Chey Institute for Advanced Studies
    • John PARK, Harvard University, Kennedy School
    • ZHAO Xiaozhuo, Academy of Military Sciences, PLA
    • Andrew HUNTER , CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
    • LEE Sook Jong, Sungkyunkwan University