Extraordinary developments at an unprecedented pace are taking place in the Korean Peninsula (KP), that have left the observers gasping. In a span of mere three months the protagonists have gone from hurling abuses and threats to talking peace and dialogue. The sister of Kim Jong-un (KJU), visited South Korea, becoming the first ever member of the Kim clan to do so. KJU travelled to Beijing, leaving the hermit kingdom for the first time since coming to power in 2011, for his maiden meeting with Xi Jinping. He is scheduled to meet his southern counterpart on 27 April, at the Peace Village on the DMZ. And upon receiving KJU’s message promising denuclearization, President Trump has agreed unconditionally to meet him in late May. Yet, it is proving difficult to shake-off a sense of déjà vu. North Korea trusts no one and least of all the US. It sees WMD as an insurance for survival of the regime. Trump meanwhile is stacking his team with hawks who want to see the end of Kim dynasty. The coming weeks promise riveting political theater, the likes of which have rarely been seen in recent times.
About the Speakers
Ambassador Rakesh Sood is a Distinguished Fellow at ORF. He has over 38 years of experience in the field of foreign affairs, economic diplomacy and international security issues. He is a post graduate in physics, economics and defence studies. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1976 and initially served in the Indian missions in Brussels, Dakar, Geneva and Islamabad in different capacities and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, later in his career. He set up the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division in the Foreign Ministry, which he led for eight years till the end of 2000. During this period, Ambassador Sood was in charge of multilateral disarmament negotiations, bilateral dialogues with Pakistan, strategic dialogues with other countries, including the US, UK, France and Israel (especially after the nuclear tests in 1998), and dealt with India’s role in the ASEAN Regional Forum, as part of the 'Look East' policy. He then served as India’s first Ambassador — Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. Since his retirement, he has been writing and commenting regularly in both print and audio visual media on India’s foreign policy, its economic dimensions and regional and international security issues.
Ambassador Vishnu Prakash, a Law Graduate (Gold Medalist), joined IFS in 1981. After postings in Moscow, New Delhi, New York and Vladivostok (Consul General) he returned to MEA as Director looking after Nepal and Bhutan (1994 – 1997) when he also did a three-month sabbatical with the ‘Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies’ in Hawaii (USA). His next served in Tokyo, Islamabad, Cairo and Shanghai (Consul General). In August 08, he was appointed Official Spokesperson of MEA, when interalia he was a member of PM’s delegation during all overseas visits. In January 2012, he took over India’s Ambassador to Seoul. In August 2013, he was conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Business Administration by Tongmyong University, Busan. In January 2015, he was bestowed the 'Ambassador of the Year, 2014' award by the Asia Society, Korea Center. Mr. Prakash next assumed the office of Indian High Commissioner in Ottawa in March 2015 from where he retired on 31 October 2016. Presently he is a columnist on foreign affairs (The Hindu, Hindustan Times, India Today, WION News etc) and regularly participates in TV debates.
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