In conversation with Shorenstein APARC, Michael H. Armacost, a Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow, discusses his initial draw to U.S. government and East Asian affairs that eventually led to a twenty-four year tenure at the State Department, including posts as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs and Ambassador to Japan and the Philippines.
Two weeks ago, North Korea surprised the world by sending three of its top leaders to the South to attend the closing ceremony of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon. The visit occurred in the midst of growing speculation that North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, was seriously ill, or even that he had been removed from power.
Perception can often trump facts in politics, and the topic of security in East Asia isn’t exempt from this reality, exemplified by the dominance of China’s “rise” and Japan’s “ramped up” defense posture in current policy debates. Yet, those dynamics create a need as well as an opportunity for increased multilateral engagement, says Thomas Fingar, the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Seoul faces challenges that are not very different from other global cities, said Mayor Park Won Soon, the public figure who leads the South Korean city of over 10 million people, concluding that the key to solving them is by better engaging and empowering citizens.“We tore down the silos,” said Park, speaking to a Stanford audience about his efforts to improve Seoul’s bureaucracy and access for citizens.