On November 6, 2017 the CIC Edmonton branch hosted Gordon Houlden, Director of the University of Alberta China Institute, to speak about the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at a Politics at the Pub event. One thing was clear during the discussion: there is no clear and easy path forward.
Through his experience as foreign-service representative to China and visits to North Korea, Mr. Houlden ably reviewed the history of the North Korean state and its relationship with the United States. He discussed the growth of the Kim Dynasty since the Korean War and outlined his thoughts on North Korea’s continual development of their missile and nuclear weapons arsenal. Mr. Houlden also discussed the changes in the North Korean-US relationship since the election of Donald Trump and what that could mean for the security of the Korean peninsula.
His anecdotes about his time in Northeast Asia kept the conversation fun and engaging, despite the seriousness of the ever deteriorating relationship between the US and North Korea. And while emphasizing the difficulty of making predictions about future war between the two countries, attendees left with a greater understanding for the potential causes for such a conflict, and the impacts it would have beyond the Korean peninsula. This is truly an issue with global geopolitical impacts.
A lively question and answer period rounded out the evening.