Connecting People & Ideas to Advance Mutual Interests in U.S.-Asia Relations

On September 25, the Mansfield Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion with the Venerable Pomnyun Sunim, a Buddhist monk, activist, and founder of the nongovernmental organization Good Friends for Peace, Human Rights, and Refugee Issues.  The Venerable Pomnyun Sunim drew from his experience and contacts in North Korea to suggest steps toward resolving the current crisis.  Among his key points were that: it is a huge miscalculation to think that China can solve the North Korea problem; North Korea is used to being economically isolated and its economy has been improving, so more economic sanctions will cause suffering, but will not kill the regime; and the United States should acknowledge that North Korea is a nuclear weapons-capable state. Venerable Pomnyun Sunim also urged the United States and South Korea to stop talking about a preemptive strike on North Korea and engage in face-to-face dialogue with Pyongyang.