The Quincy Institute and the Seoul-based East Asia Foundation hosted a Zoom webinar on Wednesday, May 27 at 8:00 PM ET / May 28 at 9:00 AM KST on the future of the U.S.-South Korea relations, exploring South Korea’s recent legislative election and its implications for bilateral relations. On April 15, South Korea held one of the world’s first national elections during the coronavirus pandemic. The voter turnout was 66.2%, the highest turnout for South Korea’s legislative election in almost 30 years. How will the National Assembly and South Korean President Moon Jae-in tackle outstanding bilateral issues, such as the Special Measures Agreement and diplomacy with North Korea? How does the U.S. Congress view these issues? How does South Korea view rising U.S.-China tensions? Speakers included the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Asia Subcommittee Chairman Ami Bera; Ambassador Sung-hwan Kim, Chairman of the East Asia Foundation and former Foreign Minister of South Korea; and Dr. Chung-in Moon, Special Advisor to South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The Quincy Institute’s Senior Research Fellow for East Asia and former policy adviser on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Jessica Lee moderated the discussion.
Congressman Ami Bera represents California’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 7th district is located just east of California’s capitol city, Sacramento, and lies entirely within Sacramento County. Congressman Bera is currently a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation. He is also Vice Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Congressman Bera also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea. Congressman Bera is the longest-serving Indian American currently serving in Congress. He has lived in Elk Grove, California for over 20 years with his wife Janine, who is also a medical doctor.
Sung-hwan Kim was a career diplomat and served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea from October 2010 to March 2013. With a career spanning over 36 years, he held a number of senior diplomatic posts including the Senior Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs and National Security and Vice Minister of MOFAT. He was ROK's ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna and the ROK's Ambassador to Uzbekistan. After retiring from the Foreign Service, he served as the Chair of Institute for Global Social Responsibility and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Seoul National University until March 2015. Now he is working as a Distinguished Professor at the Hanyang University and the Chairman of the East Asia Foundation.
Chung-in Moon is special advisor to the ROK president for unification and national security affairs. He has been an advisor to various agencies of the South Korean government. He is also distinguished university professor at Yonsei University, and editor-in-chief of Global Asia, a quarterly journal in English, co-convener of Asia-Pacific Leadership Network on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation, and Chairman of Asia Research Fund. He was dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at Yonsei University, and served as Ambassador for International Security Affairs of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Trade and Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiative, a cabinet-level post.
Jessica Lee is a Senior Research Fellow for East Asia at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Her research focuses on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and alliances and strategy in East Asia. Previously, Jessica led the Council of Korean Americans to advance the voice and influence of the Korean American community through civic engagement and leadership development. She was also a Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu, and a senior manager at The Asia Group, LLC, a strategy and capital advisory firm. Jessica served as a staff member in the House of Representatives for six years.