An open lecture from the Centre for Theology and Public Issues.  I suspect that this was for the occasion that a visiting Korean Churchman was in Dunedin on study leave, Kyo Seong Ahn from the Presbyterian Seminary.  He sat on a forum with speakers from Political Science and Peace Studies.

We don’t know what is going on in North Korea.  There is a crisis of leadership taking place as the young prince assumes the crown.  To prove his legitimacy the palace is talking in language of posturing manliness and fiery rhetoric.  While all the advantages lie in the other Six Party States as long has everyone pays attention to North Korea’s posturing it has respect.

Even its closest ally, China, is getting frustrated trying to work out where North Korea will jump to next.  China wants stability in its neighbourhood on the Korean Peninsula, not a punch-drunk hermit kingdom.  North Korea is the Rogue State, the last member of the Axis of Evil.  China’s patience is eternal.  While North Korea is dependent on China’s aid to survive China is not treated without suspicion in North Korea.  Their ally is a rather pushy giant.  Dwarves don’t get to complain when the giant rolls over.

The Six Parties: North and South Korea, China, America, Japan, and Russia, are in stalemate.  All of them will come to talks with their own agenda.  Who will blink first?  Will North Korea back down on its nuclear programme, or will America come to the Six Party Talks.

There are still people on the ground, a country of 24 million people, who have no choice but to follow their leaders.  Of course we now live in an age when people can communicate faster than ever, even in night-bound North Korea.  It may prove that the leaders will have to move fast to catch up with their people.

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