On October 19th, the Institute for Korean Studies held its third annual conference, entitled “A Middle Power and the Middle Kingdom in Today’s Asia: The Korea-China Relationship.” The conference was made possible with funding from the Dr. Lee Se Ung Distinguished Lecture Series on Korean Global Affairs.
Koreans often refer to the country’s fate as “Korae ssaume saeudeung teojinda” (a shrimp between two whales), an apt expression given its geographical position. This year’s summit diplomacy, however, has reignited hopes for long-term peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Thus, today’s conference began with the question: “How will the Korea-China relationship develop in the years to come, and what does it mean for the United States’ role in Asia?”
IKS third annual international conference brought together scholars and diplomats to discuss the past, present, and future of Korea-China relations. The conference commenced with academic presentations covering various aspects of the Korea-China relationship: Dr. Sixiang Wang from Stanford University presented “Wagging the Imperial Dog”: Negotiated Autonomy and the Diplomacy of Universal Empire in Early Choseon Korea; Dr. June Hee Kwon from New York University presented “Borderland Dreams: Korean Chinese Migrants between Chinese Dream and Korean Dream”; and Dr. Sunhee Koo from the University of Auckland (in New Zealand) presented “Hallyu and Beyond: The Impact and Influence of Hallyu on the Chaoxianzu Community and its Identity.”
After the academic presentations there was a musical performance featuring Eun Sun Jung playing the gayageum; IKS visiting scholar Young Ju Lee singing Korean art songs; and a quartet composed by Jacobs School visiting scholar Beomseok Yoo and performed by Eun Sun Jung on gayageum, Jieun Yoo on violin, Mary Eunkyung Chang on viola and John Yang on cello.
Finally, Lee Feinstein, dean of IU's Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Poland, moderated a policy discussion about the Korea-China relationship. The panelists were Jaewoo Choo, professor of Chinese foreign policy at Kyung Hee University in South Korea; Mark Minton, professor of practice in the Hamilton Lugar School, former president of the Korea Society in New York and former U.S. ambassador to Mongolia; Jung H. Pak, senior fellow and SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korean studies at Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies; and John Park, an Asia security analyst and director of Korea projects at the Harvard Kennedy School.