Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sing-Song Diplomacy

Remember our discussion regarding the potential “lasting” effects of the New York Philharmonic’s visit to Pyongyang last month?

Well, Sung-Yoon Lee, an adjunct professor in international politics at the Fletcher School, has written a thought-provoking essay on that very subject in Asia Times Online.

Lee begins the article by recalling “one memorable night, (when) Pyongyang became a city of music and hospitality in place of ideology and hostility.”
But wait, Lee isn’t talking about the NY Philharmonic’s recent visit. She talking about South Korean pop star Cho Yong-pil’s concert in Pyongyang back in August 2005.

Lee captures the events that have transpired since then and up till the Philharmonic’s visit by contrasting the expectations of idealism with the cold truth of realism. In the end, Lee concludes the Philharmonic’s visit will do little for the ongoing negotiations surrounding the DPRK’s alleged nuclear program than “ping-pong” diplomacy did for Sino-US relations in 1971. Alternatively, Lee thinks the concert has the detrimental effect of casting a sympathetic light on the KJR.

A compelling read. Check it out.

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