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May 1–2Westin Grand Hotel

The Industry

foreign policy, trade relations, peacekeeping

The Attendees

250 current and former diplomats, policy wonks, jaded journalists, and taxpayer-funded traveling feds

The Issues

United States–Korea Free Trade Agreement: boon or bane? Warned one panelist, “[FTA] negotiations may force [South] Korea to revisit the issue of opening its rice market even though it has already dealt with this thorny problem at a multilateral level.” If forced to make more concessions to the United States, will Koreans take their bowl off the table?

The future of the ROK-US Alliance: Will the hip name broaden the concept’s appeal? What about the May 5 opening of the KORUS House at the South Korean Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW, which will “serve as a center for cooperation in media, academics and society”?

Which illicit global trade networks are linked to North Korea? Heroin, cocaine, and meth trafficking? “Supernote” counterfeit U.S. currency? Fake cigarettes? Rhino horns and elephant tusks? Human smuggling for prostitution and forced labor? Furthermore, is the DPRK partnering with organized crime? Noted one speaker, “North Korea’s government has officially embraced criminal activities as a means of providing financial support for the leadership, many of whom have been personally involved.” —Rob Tierney