Territorial Disputes in East Asia and the Role of the United States

Philippines Conference Room
  • Joon-woo Park

KSP's 2011–12 Koret Fellow, recently retired Korean senior career diplomat Ambassador Joon-woo Park, will discuss the U.S. role in current territorial disputes in East Asia. The disputes, which threaten peace and stability in the region and could result in conflict among major powers, have their origin in the incomplete settlement of the Pacific War overseen by the United States. Ambassador Park argues that the United States thus shares responsibility for the current situation. He will review the status of the major territorial disputes in East Asia and explain why the United States has a significant role to play in their peaceful resolution and in promoting cooperative and friendly relations among the countries of the region.

As a career diplomat, Ambassador Park served in numerous key posts, including those of ambassador to the EU and to Singapore and presidential advisor on foreign affairs. Park worked closely for over twenty years with Ban Ki-moon, the former Korean diplomat who is now the United Nations secretary-general.

Ambassador Park also served for seven years at the Korean embassies in Tokyo and Beijing. During his tenure as director general of the Korean foreign ministry’s Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, he handled sensitive, longstanding issues relating to regional history, such as the depiction of historical events in Japanese textbooks and the treatment of the history of the Goguryeo kingdom in China’s Northeast Project.

The Koret Fellowship has been made possible by the generous support of the Koret Foundation. The Fellowship’s purpose is to promote intellectual diversity and breadth in KSP by bringing leading professionals in Asia and the United States to Stanford to study U.S.-Korea relations. Fellows conduct their own research on the bilateral relationship, with an emphasis on contemporary relations, with the broad aim of fostering greater understanding and closer ties between the two countries.