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Asia's Anti-Democracy, North Korea: a lecture by John Delury

Asia's Anti-Democracy, North Korea: a lecture by John Delury

John Delury, associate director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations.

One of the last surviving planned socialist economies, history's only communist dynasty, and an ideological hybrid of Confucianism, Christianity, Stalinism, and Maoism, North Korea is truly unique. To its south lies arguably the most democratic society in East Asia'South Korea. Across its northern border, China is being remade by relentless socio-economic dynamism. But North Korea's regime has proven itself remarkably resilient, and at least for now is East Asia's most undemocratic state.

John Delury, associate director of Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, explores what paths, if any, to democratic rule are imaginable for the North Korean people and what can be done to lay foundations for a more moderate and liberal regime. He speaks on April 29 as the third and final speaker in the 2010 BP Speaker Series: Prospects for Democracy: China, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

Delury's credentials include serving as project director for a major task force on North Korea organized by Asia Society and the University of California's Institute of Global Conflict and Cooperation. The October 2009 task force report, North Korea Inside Out: The Case for Economic Engagement, argues that sanctions and isolation have failed to alter North Korea's truculent behavior and that now is the time for a different approach. "We recommend a sustained and determined process of economic engagement with the D.P.R.K. by means of activities that do not jeopardize U.S. security concerns, and could catalyze a process with positive long-term effects," the report states.


Delury, who is also director of Asia Society's China Boom Project, has a BA and Ph.D. in history from Yale and has taught Chinese history and politics at Brown University. His article "North Korea: 20 Years of Solitude" appeared in World Policy Journal (Winter 2008/09). He has also written for Far Eastern Economic Review, Policy Review, Project Syndicate and Journal of Asian Studies.

Event Details

29 April 2010
7:30am - 9:30am

The Houston Club, 811 Rusk Ave Houston

$30 ASTC members, $40 nonmembers, $300 Tables of 10