Dr. Mark P. Barry, UTS Lecturer in Management, just returned from Shenyang, China, where he represented IIFWP at the Forum for Peace and Development of Northeast Asia. The Forum was hosted by Beijing University's Center for Korean Studies from September 21-23.
This conference, the fifth annual such meeting, included former government officials and academic experts from the countries represented in the Six Party Talks: the United States, China, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss informally and candidly, in an off-the-record setting, the present situation in North Korea and the policy of each respective nation.
Coincidentally, the Fourth Round of Six Party Talks had just concluded two days earlier in Beijing with the issuance of a Joint Statement of Principles. The participants therefore were able to evaluate the Joint Statement and assess the future of the Six Party Talks. Other topics discussed were the role of international NGOs in North Korea, and regional economic cooperation and North Korean economic development.
Dr. Barry notes that 25% of Shenyang's 8 million population is Korean, it being only 150 miles from the North Korean border.