USC Korean Studies Institute and CSIS Korea Chair to Launch Project on Korean Unification

March 2, 2010

Los Angeles –The Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California (KSI) and The Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will undertake a groundbreaking new initiative on Korean unification. The initiative, called “The Korea Project: Planning for the Long Term,” will be led by David Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute at USC, and by Victor Cha, senior adviser and holder of the Korea Chair at CSIS. The initiative is made possible by the generous support of the Korea Foundation.

“This project is significant for the long-term future of the Korean peninsula and, most importantly, for the North Korean people themselves,” Kang said. “I’m delighted to be working on this project with CSIS and Dr. Cha, especially because our two institutions will bring complementary strengths and skills to this critical research project.”

While a great deal of study has been devoted to near-term crisis planning in the case of severe instability on the Korean peninsula, this project will focus on the yet-unstudied longer-term economic, political and human security issues. Highlights of the initiative’s work will include:

• Network linking functional experts and Korea scholars
• Pathbreaking analysis of problems and solutions to integration of the Korean peninsula
• Workshops with Korea experts and institutions on developing cooperative regional solutions
• Final monograph that analyzes findings and provides recommendations for strengthening cooperation and assessing future tasks for the United States, Korea, and regional and international parties

“Military planners are preoccupied with contingency plans for instability on the Korean peninsula, but the yet-unstudied medium- and long-term scenarios are critically important,” said Dr. Cha. “Governments cannot afford the time to think about the longer-term implications of Korean unification. With this project, we hope to fill this void as well as look at the opportunities and benefits that integration of the peninsula might afford for East Asia, Korea, and the United States.”

About the Korean Studies Institute at USC: KSI encourages political, economic and cultural understanding of Korea in the USC community and beyond. Focusing on contemporary issues that affect Korea, the KSI seeks to increase the depth and breadth of resources devoted to Korean studies through its student and faculty support and ambitious public programming.

About the Center for Strategic and International Studies: CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1962 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and policy solutions to decisionmakers.


Contact: Suzanne Wu, (213) 740-0252, suzanne.wu@usc.edu