Soh Jaipil Sixth Talk: Angela Kim

On April 11, 2018, GWIKS hosted the Sixth Soh Jaipil Circle featuring Ms. Angela Kim, who gave her presentation titled, “International Legal Issues for a Unified Korea: Protection of Third Party Rights Under Pre-Existing Bilateral Treaties.” Ms. Kim is currently a Visiting Scholar at GWIKS and a PhD candidate in Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her LLM from the George Washington University in 2015 and her Bachelor of Law from Handong Global University in 2014.

In her presentation, Ms. Kim discussed international law rules on bilateral treaty interpretation and state succession as related to a hypothetical future scenario of a unified Korea. Firstly, she spoke in depth about the law of state succession and highlighted 3 different waves of succession that occurred in recent history: (1) the era of decolonization (1950-74); (2) the era of de-sovietization (1990-96); and (3) various cases in the 21st century (e.g. South Sudan and Kosovo). Succession of states can be either partial or universal, with partial succession encompassing secession, cession, and the creation of newly independent states, and universal succession entailing dissolution and unification. For the Korean case, Ms. Kim specifically highlighted unification as the type of state succession, which can be further divided into (1) the merger of South and North Korea into an entirely new state; and (2) the incorporation of one into the other.

Secondly, Ms. Kim spoke about the legal foundation and the sources of international law, specifically highlighting Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which denotes (1) conventions, (2) customs, (3) general principles of law present in many states, and (4) judicial teachings as the underlying foundation of international law.

Thirdly, she delved into how all of this applies to the Korean context. As remains customary for all successions, in the case of a unified Korea, any bilateral treaties that were signed with the DPRK or ROK regarding borders would remain unaffected for third parties. Additionally, treaties of a localized nature that deal with the use of territory (e.g. such as rights to fisheries) would similarly remain unaffected. Other treaties such as political or bilateral investment treaties would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Were unification to occur, it would most likely be the incorporation of the North into the South’s existing legal personality. Ms. Kim noted the German case as a precedent of incorporation that could be followed; furthermore, she detailed three general principles of law that would enable the protection of third party rights under pre-existing bilateral treaties with either of the two Koreas. The first was pacta sunt servanda, which stands as a basic principle necessitating that agreements be kept. Existing agreements are based on good faith and are in force, and a unified Korea could not unilaterally terminate these treaties. The second was rebus sic stantibus, or “things thus standing,” whereby unification itself could not be considered a fundamental change in circumstance that justifies unified Korea’s unilateral termination of or withdrawal from a pre-existing treaty. Lastly, the third principle Ms. Kim noted was pacta tertiis, which means that “agreements do not harm third parties.” For any pre-existing treaty to be nullified, unified Korea would have to obtain the consent of the respective third parties.

Ms. Kim concluded her presentation with a reiteration of her research findings and how these findings directly apply to the future of existing bilateral treaties with the two Koreas. Attendees had an opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback, and engage on a deeper level regarding her topic of interest.


Written by Bomie Lee

SJP Third Talk: Jihwan Hwang

On December 1, 2017, Dr. Jihwan Hwang, visiting scholar at the Catholic University of America and lecturer at GW, presented on his research “Can North Korea Become America’s Friend” to a group of students, staff, and representatives from the Korea Economic Institute and the Department of State. Dr. Hwang compared the improvement of relations with Iran and Cuba under President Obama to the North Korean case. He proposed that the implementation of agreements, change in domestic politics, and level of nuclear development are initial conditions that determine whether a “rogue state” can become friends with the U.S. Until those factors change in North Korea, he remarked that friendship with the U.S. does not appear likely. During the question and answer session, Dr. Hwang and the participants discussed other possible factors such as leadership, geostrategic calculations, and economic considerations.


December 14: WCCW Film Screening

GW Institute for Korean Studies and the Washington Coalition for Comfort Women Issues (WCCW)


Film Screening:



Thursday, December 14, 2017

5:00 pm – 7:30 pm


The George Washington University Marvin Center

Amphitheater (3rd Floor)

800 21st Street, NW

Washington, DC 20052


About the Film (From the Film Director, Jungrae Cho)

“Spirits’ Homecoming, Unfinished Story” is part dramatization and part documentary. It is a visual testimony of “Comfort Women,” and it contains additional scenes from the movie “Spirits’ Homecoming” along with filmed documentations of “Comfort Women” from the House of Sharing archives. Through their testimonies, we provide proof of the victims of Japanese war crimes during WWII and the unspeakable atrocities they experienced. Unfortunately, a satisfying resolution has still not been achieved. I hope that this film can further ignite discussions about this issue and make us think about what we can do to contribute and make a difference.

“Spirits’ Homecoming” was released in 2016 and has been screened globally after its release in South Korea. In the hopes to bring awareness about the issue of Japanese military sexual slavery, the film was screened at 10 different countries in 61 cities over 1,300 times and over 100 lectures. Many viewers who encountered this painful past for the first time have continuously asked, “Did this really happen”?


About “Comfort Women” (From the Film Director, Jungrae Cho)

During WWII, over 200,000 young girls were forcefully taken by the Japanese Imperial Army. They were separated from their own families without knowing where they were being sent. Eventually, they were all coerced to become sex slaves for the Japanese military and had to endure inhumane and horrific atrocities. Most of them never made it back home and faced a lonely death in unfamiliar foreign lands.

On August 14, 1991, one courageous Korean “Comfort Woman,” Hak-Soon Kim, came out and broke her silence by revealing to the world for the first time the atrocities she endured as a sex slave to the Japanese military. Many more survivors followed her and came forward from all over Asia and the world to speak about their experiences and demand justice. After 26 years of struggling to fight for their justice, the survivors have still not received their rightful apology and legal reparations from the Japanese government.

There are 34 living survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery as of Nomemeber 1, 2017.

In the last two months, two survivors have passed away without receiving their demands from the Japanese government. They were young innocent girls when they were enslaved, and now the average age of the survivors is over 90. It is time to receive an official apology now as the number of surviving “Comfort Women” is getting smaller.

While the victims are speaking out “against war and never to repeat again,” the current global atmosphere is unstable with numerous threats of violence. After contemplating how and what I could do to contribute, I decided to film a sequel with actual testimonies from the survivors called “Spirits’ Homecoming, Unfinished Story.”

We hope this horrific war crime will never happen again.

We should make sure the victims of Japanese military sexual slavery are never forgotten. They deserve a sincere official apology and legal reparations. I hope we can all stand firm with the victims and make sure this war crime against women and young girls never occurs again.

December 1: Soh Jaipil Circle with Jihwan Hwang

GWIKS Soh Jaipil Circle

The Third Talk

“Can North Korea Become America’s Friend?”

Featuring Dr. Jihwan Hwang



Friday, December 1, 2017

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Lunch Will Be Provided


Elliott School of International Affairs

Chung-Wen Shih Conference Room

Sigur Center for Asian Studies

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503

Washington, DC 20052


Can North Korea become America’s friend? In recent years, North Korea has seemingly become an exceptional case compared to America’s other old enemies: Iran and Cuba. Although the Trump administration seeks to reverse the Obama administration’s policy, Iran and Cuba have gone through impressive internal and external changes, and have recently been approaching the international community. However, North Korea’s attitude towards the U.S. has become increasingly provocative rather than cooperative. Even with the Obama administration’s engagement diplomacy toward enemy nations, North Korea did not reciprocate. North Korea still continues its hostility and the U.S. has put several economic sanctions against Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile provocations. What differentiates North Korea from Iran and Cuba? This talk compares changes in Iran and Cuba’s domestic politics, economic situation, and security environment with those of North Korea in order to find out what makes North Korea’s course look so different.


With Jihwan Hwang

Jihwan HWANG is Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Seoul, Korea. He is now a year-long visiting scholar at the Catholic University of America. He is also teaching “Politics in the Two Koreas” at the George Washington University for this semester. He has served in several advisory positions in the Korean government, including the President’s Committee for Unification Preparation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Unification. His publications include “The Paradox of South Korea’s Unification Diplomacy” and “The Two Koreas after U.S. Unipolarity.” He is a graduate of Seoul National University and received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Moderated by Gregg Brazinsky

Gregg A. BRAZINSKY is Associate Professor of History and International Affairs and Deputy Director of GW Institute for Korean Studies. His research seeks to understand the diverse and multi-faceted interactions among East Asian states and between Asia and the United States. He is the author of Nation Building in South Korea: Koreans, Americans, and the Making of a Democracy (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) and Winning the Third World: Sino-American Rivalry during the Cold War (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). He served as interim director of the GW Institute for Korean Studies during the Spring 2017 semester.

November 3: ICAS Fall Symposium Special

ICAS Liberty Foundation


Humanity, Liberty, Peace and Security

The Korean Peninsular Issues and United States National Security



Friday, November 3, 2017

1:30 – 4:30 pm

Allison Auditorium

The Heritage Foundation

214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Washington, DC 20002


Chair: Synja P. Kim (ICAS Fellow, President and Chairman)

Moderator: Sang Joo Kim (ICAS Senior Fellow and Executive Vice President)



“North Korea’s Threat and US National Security”

Robert Einhorn (Senior Fellow, Arms Control and Nonproliferation Initiative, Brookings Institution)


“A Solution for North Korea’s Nuke and Missile Threat”

Daniel Gallington (Former Special Assistant for Policy to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld)


“What US Army Will Do to Defend Against North Korea’s Threat” 

William Hix (Major General US Army and Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5/7, HQ for the Department of the Army)

November 16: “Tales from the Motherland: Korea and the Power of Small”

Institute for Korean Studies & Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communications


“Tales from the Motherland: Korea and the Power of Small”

Robert Ogburn, Visiting State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow



Thursday, November 16, 2017

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Elliott School of International Affairs

Lindner Family Commons Room

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 602

Washington, DC 20052


About Robert Ogburn
Robert Ogburn has held the title of Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul since September 2014. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987 and has served in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Washington and Egypt. Prior to Seoul, Robert was Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City from 2011-2014. In 2009-2010, Robert was the State Department’s senior advisor for rule of law at the US Embassy in Baghdad, where he focused on inter-agency and provincial coordination of the Mission’s rule of law efforts. Robert has held five previous jobs in Korea, including Spokesman and Counselor for Public Affairs. In addition to serving in Iraq, he considers his career highlights to be re-opening the USG’s diplomatic post in Busan, Korea in 2007; running White House Press Filing Centers during Presidential visits to various countries; and, from 2001-5 bringing some of the first cultural and performing arts programs to southern Vietnam since the end of the War. In Seoul, he has been the chairman of one of the world’s largest binational Fulbright Commissions, and he also introduced the State Department’s first-ever FabLab Fellow and other innovative sports and cultural diplomacy programs. Robert has an MA in East Asian Studies from the George Washington University (’85) and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University (’04).

November 10: Korean Literature Essay Contest Award Ceremony

Thanks to our generous sponsor, LTI Korea, we are holding:

GWIKS 2017 Korean Literature Essay Contest Award Ceremony

Friday, November 10, 2017

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

Elliott School of International Affairs

Chung-Wen Shih Conference Room

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503

Washington, DC 20052




1st: Eric Kenney

2nd: Nancy Chung

3rd: Gloria Han & Ho Young Choe


Guest Speaker

Young-key Kim-Renaud will be giving a talk on The Vegetarian and the importance of Korean literature at the award ceremony. She is Professor Emeritus of Korean Language and Culture and International Affairs, previous chair of the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department at GW. She is also currently Senior Advisor to GW Institute for Korean Studies.


You-me Park is the program director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown university. She is presently completing a book-length study titled War on Women: Militarism, Gender, and Human Rights, which rethinks the connections among militaristic ideology, human rights discourse, and contemporary theories of biopolitics and sexual violence.

James Han Mattson currently teaches at the University of Maryland. A Michener-Copernicus Award recipient, he has worked as a staff writer and editor for Pagoda Foreign Language Institute, the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, and Logogog – South Africa.  His debut novel, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves, will be published by Little A in December 2017.

About the Essay Contest

The GWIKS Korean Literature Essay Contest encourages students to engage with translated Korean novels and promotes a better understanding of Korean literature. This year, participants were asked to write an essay about author Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, which won the 2016 Man Booker International Prize. With the sponsorship of LTI Korea, GWIKS successfully held the first Korean Literature Essay Contest, which will be held annually.


October 7, 14, 21, 28, 2017: Community Art Workshop with Artist Ik Joong Kang

The Korean Heritage Foundation is hosting a free, four-part Community Art Workshop, as part of Artist Ik Joong Kang’s “They Are the Future” public art project. The purpose behind each workshop is to provide participants with knowledge about community art and to motivate them to contribute to community cultural activities.

Mr. Ik Joong Kang is internationally recognized for creating major public artworks using multiple 3″ x 3″ canvases to bring attention to the plight of people and struggling societies around the world. He will personally be leading the 2nd workshop on October 14.




1. Discovering a Self-Identity: “I, No One Knows”

Saturday, October 7 @3:30-4:30 pm

Oakton Library, 10304 Lynnhaven Place, Oakton, VA


2. “The Story of My Mother”

Saturday, October 14 @4:00-5:30 pm

Oakton Library, 10304 Lynnhaven Place, Oakton, VA


3. Discussion about the DC Metro Area: “How Did I Get Here?”

Saturday, October 21 @11:00-12:30 pm

Westover Branch Library Meeting Room, 1644 N McKinley Road #3, Arlington, VA 22205


4. Creating a Cultural Identity: “They Are the Future” – Who Are “They?”

Saturday, October 28 @2:00-3:30 pm

Westover Branch Library Meeting Room, 1644 N McKinley Road #3, Arlington, VA 22205

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