Trump-Kim Jong-Un Meeting, More Than Meets the Eye?


Trump-Kim Jong-Un Meeting, More Than Meets the Eye?

"The North has betrayed us so many times, but that shouldn’t stop us from still trying for unification." These are the hopeful words of North-South Korean relations expert, Assistant Professor Eunjung Lim as she discuss this, and more with AWANI Review’s Ibrahim Sani.

In a shocking announcement made by Senior South Korean envoys in charge of the North Korean unification talks, Kim Jong-Un is now ready to meet face-to-face with American President Donald Trump.

The engagement between the two leaders also expect to follow radical changes to the North's nuclear programme. This comes after the South Korean envoys also report that North Korea is willing to halt nuclear missile tests and was committed to denuclearisation.

In an exclusive with Astro AWANI, North-South Korean expert Dr. Eunjung Lim says she welcomes the progress of talks with North Korea, but explains clearly that such progress must be seen with cautious optimism.

“We have been betrayed by the North so many times,” explained Lim who is an Assistant Professor at College of International Relations, Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan University.

“There are countless episodes where both governments seem to agree on some accord but later the North goes against their word and breaks such agreements. This is why the latest progress in the talks must be approached with caution,” added Lim.

“Just today, South Korean President Moon Jae-in had set up a meeting to meet with various opposition leaders,” said Lim.

It is not easy dealing with the North, but we have to take into account what the alternatives are

“During the meeting, these leaders expressed their concerns and scepticism on the North’s overtures. In return, President Moon asked them what their alternatives are in solving the problem? What President Moon is doing is what every leader has to do, which is to find solutions, no matter how hard it can be. It is not easy dealing with the North, but we have to take into account what the alternatives are,” she added.

“The pursuit of a Korean unification is enshrined in our South Korean constitution. We are legally obligated to pursue a path of unification” said Lim.

“But we have to realise that such pursuit may not be felt by the various people in the country. The older generation may seem to have a stronger connection with the North, but the younger generation seem to have a different view on the subject altogether."

"The young feel that South Korea emboldens a very different culture, philosophy, and is proud of their accomplishments and their place in the world."

Before joining the Ritsumeikan faculty, Eunjung Lim taught at Johns Hopkins University SAIS. She also taught at several universities in Korea, including Yonsei University and Korea University.

She has been a researcher and visiting fellow at several institutes including the Center for Contemporary Korean Studies at Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies at the University of Tokyo, the Institute of Japanese Studies at Seoul National University, the Institute of Japan Studies at Kookmin University, and Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.

She earned a B.A. from the University of Tokyo, an M.I.A. from Columbia University and a Ph.D from SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Korean, Japanese and English.