Introducing Lee Chang-sung: A Visiting Scholar from the South Korean Ministry of Unification

The NATO Association of Canada is proud to host Lee Chang-sung, a senior policy advisor from the South Korean government, as our visiting scholar for the next two years.

 

With unique experience from the Ministry of Unification, we hope that he will bring new perspectives and insights in conceptualizing the most urgent problems our organization is engaged in. These issues include nuclear proliferation, human rights for refugees, and security in the Asia-Pacific region. With increasingly hostile rhetoric being exchanged between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, we have no doubt that Lee will become a valuable member of our team.

 

While working for the Ministry of Unification, from 2005 to 2007, he designed and participated in the inter-Korean dialogues. Lee visited Pyongyang and Gaeseong to discuss the possibilities of military economic cooperation between the two Koreas. For the following Park Geunhye administration, he worked at the National Security Office where his responsibility was to conceptualize long-term strategies centred on the possibility of reunification.

 

His presence at the NATO Association is integral, as the approaches of the two administrations toward North Korea could not be more different. As the inheritor of the Sunshine Policy, which defined the approach taken by the South towards reunification, Roh’s administration executed policies with the assumption that a denuclearized North Korea would be possible through dialogue. In 2007, president Roh Moohyun himself met with Kim Jong-il to discuss nuclear proliferation and economic cooperation. In the long-term, Roh planned to reunify Korea by ending North Korea’s isolation; as a result, his policies were designed to introduce the North Korean people to global capitalism and democracy. On the other hand, Park Geunhye’s administration allocated resources to pressuring North Korea with sanctions. The underlying assumption was that a halt in North Korea’s economy will accelerate the possibility of reunification. However, both approaches to North Korea failed to fundamentally change the country. Therefore, Lee has always thought about alternative approaches to the problems surrounding reunification.

 

He has joined as a visiting scholar at the NATO Association of Canada with the belief that studying NATO will allow him to think of similar models for East Asian states. If East Asian nations such as South Korea, China, or Japan, were to create a multinational organization, similar to NATO, this organization could protect South Korea by limiting the provocations of North Korea. Moreover, such an organization might protect the citizens of all East Asian nations.

 

The results of his research will become guidelines for South Korean officials as they use it to create policies regarding North Korea. In the long term, his findings will be utilized in efforts towards unifying Korea. He hopes to act as a channel of communication between the South Korean and Canadian governments while he is stationed here, and is certain that the NATO Association will be able to maintain this relationship for years to come.

Daniel Jung

About Daniel Jung

Daniel completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master’s Degrees from the University of Toronto. Since then, he has been employed at Legal Aid Ontario and The Refugee Law Office in Toronto as a professional interpreter and translator. His undergraduate thesis, Reconstruction and Reimaginations of Goguryeo in the PRC and the ROK, was about the diplomatic history between China and South Korea since 1949. He took a particular focus on how the politicians and scholars of each country dealt with the problem of incorporating the history of Goguryeo (37BCE- 668 CE) into their national historical narratives. Because Goguryeo had occupied parts of Korea and China for 700 years, each country claimed exclusive ownership to it, while trying to deny the other any ownership or ties to this kingdom at the same time. Instead of taking a side at this conflict, Daniel explains the history behind this conflict. During his graduate studies career, he had an opportunity to present this paper at The East Asian Graduate Conference: In Between. The feedback he received at his conference, allowed him to complete his Master’s thesis titled: Tracing the Origins of the Goryeo and Goguryeo Waves in Korean Historical Dramas. While preparing his PhD application, Daniel took a particular focus on the diaries written by anti-Japanese guerillas in the first half of the 20th century. During this process, Daniel was the first student to translate the diaries of Hong Beomdo, Kim Gyeongcheon, and Kim Daerak to incorporate them into his work.
Daniel is interested in the security issues in the Asia-Pacific Region. His academic training has allowed him to nurture his interests in Korean and Chinese history as well as the diplomatic relations between them. Daniel also has been educating North Korean refugees for the past five years.
As a Korean historian, Daniel plans to provide context for the problems surrounding the Peninsula by informing the public about the different historical narratives which has influenced the perceptions of Korea for the past 50 years. With his coworkers at the NATO Association, he hopes to think about the possible solutions to these problems.