Myanmar and North Korea: Divergent Paths (date change)

Lecturer: 
Andray Abrahamian, Ph.D.
Date: 
Thursday, July 5, 2018 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Venue: 
Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace
Admission: 
10,000 won for non-members and 5,000 won for students (with student ID); free for members

New Date: Thursday, July 5

The stories of North Korea and Myanmar (Burma) are two of Asia’s most difficult. For decades they were infamous as the region’s most militarized and repressed, self-isolated and under sanctions by the international community while, from Singapore to Japan, the rest of Asia saw historic wealth creation. Andray Abrahamian, author of the recent book North Korea and Myanmar: Divergent Paths (McFarland, 2018), examines and compares the recent histories of North Korea and Myanmar, asking how both became pariahs and why Myanmar has been able to find a path out of isolation while North Korea has not. 

He finds that both countries were faced with severe security threats following decolonization. Myanmar was able to largely take care of its main threats in the 1990s and 2000s, allowing it the space to address the reasons for its pariah status. North Korea's response to its security threat has been to develop nuclear weapons, which in turn perpetuates and exacerbates its isolation and pariah status. In addition, Pyongyang has developed a state ideology and a coercive apparatus unmatched by Myanmar, insulating its decision makers from political pressures and issues of legitimacy to a greater degree.

Andray Abrahamian is an Honorary Fellow at Macquarie University, Sydney and an Adjunct Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. A member of the US National Committee on North Korea, he has just finished a fellowship at Pacific Forum. He has taught courses at Yangon University and Ulsan University. Andray has a PhD from the University of Ulsan and an MA from the University of Sussex. Working for a non-profit, Choson Exchange, has taken him to the DPRK nearly 30 times; he has also lived in Myanmar. His new book, "North Korea and Myanmar: divergent paths" was published by McFarland in 2018.

 

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