Policy Briefs

Northeast Asia Public Health Security Initiative

APLN Policy Brief 76

The following is a summary. Click on the adjacent link to download the full brief.

Seoul City could promote a Northeast Asian public health security initiative to respond to pandemics. This initiative could provide an opportunity to engage the DPRK on public health, and indirectly on the current pandemic, on a large scale, as a co-equal partner in a regional context. This may also fit into a Biden Administration’s attempt to reset the US-China relationship to promote a bilateral, concerted and a multilateral and global COVID-19 response at a regional level. With ROK leadership in the US-ROK alliance, it may be possible to get the Biden Administration to support substantial public health assistance and engagement of the DPRK on humanitarian grounds, in turn rebuilding trust between KJU and Biden to the point that denuclearization talks might be resumed. Seoul City might play a leading role along with other cooperating champion cities to lay the foundations for a regional public health security initiative given its first responder experience on the frontlines of COVID-19 management in the ROK.

About the Author

Peter Hayes is Director of the Nautilus Institute, Research Director at APLN, and Honourary Professor at the Centre for International Security Studies at Sydney University, Australia. He works at the nexus of security, environment and energy policy problems. Best known for his innovative cooperative engagement strategies in North Korea, he has also developed techniques at the Nautilus Institute for seeking near-term solutions to global security and sustainability problems. He has since applied them in East Asia, Australia, and South Asia.

 

Image: Joyce Lee/APLN; iStock, Seungyeon Kim.