Students, professors and guests filled the Science Center Auditorium in preparation for "The North Korean Conflict: where are we headed?" panelist discussion.
The event was organized by the Korea Corner, Office of Professional and Continuing Education and the University Outreach.
The event opened with a video of American and Korean collaboration during times of war, peace and Korean progress.
The paneled discussion served to open dialogue about issues with the current North Korean Regime and fear of nuclear attack.
Matthew Clary, visiting assistant professor in political science, presided over the event as a moderator.
“I can’t think of, frankly, anything more important we could be talking about right now,” Clary said.
Economics professor Hyeongwoo Kim, William Brown, senior in finance, and Lawrence Grinter were invited to the panel for the discussion.
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Daniel Yu, assistant director of global leadership training initiative, said the event was meant to provide communication and information for students and the community.
Yu said that, culturally, Auburn is a center for Korean culture and Korean students.
Suhyun Suh, coordinator for the Korea Corner, described the efforts different organizations are making to promote inclusion and integration.
“[Koreans] are more likely to get together among themselves,” Suh said. “But we know that it is important to have interaction between different ethnic groups here on campus and also in the community as well, so we are trying to promote that Korean people need to go beyond their comfort zone as well as Americans.”
Suh said discussions like this with students are important because when war strikes, it can affect anyone.
“There are so many people in South Korea, and a new recent report … shows war on the Korean peninsula could kill 300,000 people in the first few days without even using the nuclear weapons, and it can kill more than 100,000 U.S. citizens in Korea,” Kim said.
Royrickers Cook, associate provost and vice president of University Outreach, Lee Sangho, deputy consul general of republic of Korea in Atlanta, and Joseph Aistrup, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, all shared opening remarks before the main topic began.
Aistrup expressed the importance of finding a way to approach the problems with North Korea through discussion together.
“We really do stand on the precipice of a pretty important crisis,” Aistrup said. "[North Korea has] shown that they have leadership that is a little less than stable. So as a consequence we really are facing a crisis, not just here in the United States, not just in South Korea, but in many places across the globe."
Aistrup said it is an international crisis that everyone needs to take note of. Aistrup said the night's panel was all about beginning that dialogue and talking about what people can do to make sure that a crisis is averted.
Each panelist gave a brief presentation before beginning the moderated discussion.
Panelists addressed a current worry of many Americans – war with North Korea. Kim said the chance of an upcoming war with North Korea is very slim.
“North Korea is a kingdom, and they try to maximize the dictators, and if there is a war then that is the end of the Kim Dynasty; so he loses everything,” Kim said.
Brown, an adjunct professor at the school of foreign services at Georgetown University, said that the U.S. has come to a very critical position with North Korea. Kim Jong Un is not afraid of the U.S. because a weapon has not been fired at North Korea in 70 years, Brown said.
“The core problem with North Korea is its marxist, command economy system,” Brown said, “All these other problems, including the nuclear weapons issue, poverty, famine, human rights issue … it all boils down to this gut problem of marxism.”
Kim said if a war were to break out, it would result in many other countries becoming involved.
Grinter, professor emeritus of Asian studies at airway college, Maxwell airbase, described the tension between North America and North Korea and outlined several practices that could end the situation.
“I believe this is the most evil regime in the world," Grinter said. "It is a very dangerous leadership but a very vulnerable leadership as well."
Grinter emphasized the importance of discussion with North Korea. Despite fear in Americans, talk has been occurring with North Korea for the past 10 years, Grinter said.
“We are looking at a Trump administration that is pushing for a real chokehold on the North Korean Regime,” Grinter said. “I really think it makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal for the people of North Korea.”
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