Living History

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Living History with Ambassador Robert R. King: My Trip to North Korea

Becoming the United States Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues

This episode of Living History features part two of two interviews with Robert R. “Bob” King. Ambassador King served as special envoy for North Korea human rights issues from 2009 – 2017, leading efforts to advance human rights and humanitarian conditions in North Korea, secure the release of U.S. citizens held in North Korea, and represent the United States in international organizations dealing with these issues.

Ambassador Robert R. King

Examining Human Rights in North Korea

Ambassador King recounts what it was like to visit North Korea and to raise human rights issues with North Korean leaders. He discusses the important role of the United Nations in calling attention to human rights conditions in North Korea and coordinating efforts to make progress on these issues. As part of these discussions, Ambassador King shares his thoughts on the nexus between human rights and broader security concerns like denuclearization. He concludes with an assessment of progress made since the release of the UN COI Report in 2014, remaining challenges under the current administration, and the role that human rights should play in U.S. foreign policy.

Ambassador Alexander Vershbow

Finding Ways to See Eye to Eye: Navigating Through Strained Relationships

This Living History interview features an interview with Alexander “Sandy” Vershbow, the former U.S. ambassador to South Korea (2005-2008). He also served as the deputy secretary general of NATO (2012-2016), the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs (2009-2012), the U.S. ambassador to Russia (2001-2005), and the U.S. ambassador to NATO (1998-2001). 

Ambassador Shin Kak-soo

A Look at Korea-Japan Relations

Ambassador Shin reflects on the complexities of Korea’s relations with its neighbor Japan. He provides an overview of how entrenched partisan politics can prevent the successful resolution of crises between these two key U.S. allies.

Minister Song Min-soon

Negotiating the September 19 Joint Statement

This Living History interview features Song Min-soon, the former South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the National Security Advisor to President Roh Moo-hyun (2006- 2008). He was director general for North American affairs and South Korean chief delegate during the Six-Party Talks in 2005. He played a key role in the multilateral denuclearization agreement with North Korea, involving the United States, Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia, achieved in September 2005.

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens: Part II

Witnessing the Pivotal Moments in the U.S.-Korea Relations

This Living History features an interview with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens who served as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2008 to 2011. Ambassador Stephens was the first female ambassador and one of the few Korean-speaking senior U.S. diplomats to serve in that position since the opening of the U.S. embassy in Seoul in 1949.

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens: Part I

Witnessing South Korea’s Post-War Economic and Democratic Growth Firsthand

This Living History features an interview with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens who served as the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2008 to 2011. Ambassador Stephens was the first female ambassador and one of the few Korean-speaking senior U.S. diplomats to serve in that position since the opening of the U.S. embassy in Seoul in 1949.

Ambassador Chung Chong Wook

Navigating Dangerous Waters: The 1994 North Korean Nuclear Crisis

This Living History interview features Ambassador Chung Chong Wook. Ambassador Chung served as the Republic of Korea’s ambassador to China from 1996 to 1998 and as a senior secretary to President Kim Young-sam for national security and foreign policy from 1993 to 1994. While serving in government, he witnessed and was involved in a series of dramatic and rapid developments in inter-Korean relations and U.S. policy toward North Korea.

Ambassador Joseph Yun

Efforts to Maintain a Channel of Diplomatic Engagement with North Korea

This Living History interview features Ambassador Joseph Yun who served as the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs from October 2016 to March 2018. Prior to that position, he was the United States Ambassador to Malaysia from 2013 to 2016. From 2005 to 2008, Ambassador Yun also served as the Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul where he oversaw domestic, regional and bilateral policy coordination between the United States and South Korea.

Ambassador Chun Yung-woo

Multilateral Engagement to Resolve the North Korean Nuclear Issue

This Living History interview features Ambassador Chun Yung-woo. Ambassador Chun was National Security Advisor to ROK President Lee Myung-bak from 2010 to 2013 and was Second Vice Minister at the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade from 2009 to 2010. Prior to that he served as ROK ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2008 to 2009 and head of the ROK delegation to the Six Party Talks from 2006 to 2008. In this interview, Chun reflects particularly upon his experience as Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs and head of the South Korean delegation to the Six Party Talks, a multilateral negotiation to denuclearize North Korea that resulted in two sets of agreements in 2005 and 2007.

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