The purge and execution of Jang Sung Taek was caused by the combination of a struggle over economic interests and political power as well as shortcomings of the Military-first System. While it is too early to determine what the consequences of Jang’s execution are in terms of the political stability and future policy directions of the Kim Jong Un regime, this panel will explore some possibilities, particularly in terms of inter-Korean relations.

The panel features Jinwook Choi and Hazel Smith and James Person.

Jinwook Choi is a senior fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), which he joined in 1993. He was formerly KINU’s acting President and President of the Korea Association for North Korean Studies (KANKS). Dr. Choi is currently a member of various policy advisory committees of the ROK government: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Unification, Korea Communications Commission, and the National Unification Advisory Group. His research interests include North Korean politics and unification policy. Dr. Choi received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Cincinnati in 1992.

Hazel Smith is Professor and Director of Korean Studies at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. She was previously a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Professor of Humanitarianism and Security at Cranfield University, UK, a member of the Research Committee of the UK Economic and Social Research Council and an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Her core area of research is on the economics, society, politics and international relations of North Korea. She has researched the country for over twenty years and lived and worked in North Korea for nearly two years, on secondment to UNICEF and the World Food Programme.

James F. Person is the Senior Program Associate for the History and Public Policy Program and coordinator of the North Korea International Documentation Project. Person is co-editor of the NKIDP Working Paper Series and the History and Public Policy Program Critical Oral History Conference Series and has worked as a consultant on historical documentaries. He received his Ph.D. in Modern Korean History from The George Washington University.