2018 Events


Human Rights in North Korea: A Conversation with Defectors

October 31, 2018
Two hands holding

Sponsored by the Society for Korean Legal Studies with support from the Center for Korean Legal Studies, this event featured a conversation on human rights with defectors from North Korea.








Columbia-KIOST  Joint Project on International Dispute Resolution
The Northern Limit Line: Balancing Inter-Korean Interests in the West and East Seas

October 12, 2018

Together with the Korea Institute for Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) the Center held an all-day conference to discuss the legal nature of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and possible legal avenues for a peaceful settlement of the NLL and West Sea coastline issues. View photos.

2018 K-Law Forum
The Korean Peace Process: Law, Diplomacy and Geopolitics

August 28, 2018

Hosted by the Center for Korean Legal Studies and the Korea Legislation Research Institute the forum aimed at advancing the discourse on the Korean peace process and its legal implications, particularly for inter-Korean relations, denuclearization and the Korean War.  Based on the Panmunjeom Peace Declaration of April 2018, the topics addressed included legal implications for Korean reunification, the binding force of inter-Korean agreements, the legal framework of inter-Korean exchanges, sanctions-based limits on inter-Korean projects, the nonproliferation rights and responsibilities of the ROK, the settlement of the Northern Limit Line dispute and the effects of inter-Korean normalization on the Armistice.

View the forum agenda. View photos.


Kim Jong Un's Strategy for Survival: Prospects for Peace and the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

Poster advertising Chun Youngwoo talk
Ambassador Chun Youngwoo
Former ROK Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN and Head of the ROK Delegation to the Six-Party Talks

September 25, 2018

In 2018, the situation on the Korean Peninsula shifted dramatically from threatened conflict to hope for dialogue and peace. What motivated Kim Jong Un to shift North Korea to a peace offensive? Is there a strategy forward from the current deadlock of denuclearization? Ambassador Chun Yungwoo discussed the factors behind Kim's strategic policy shift, as well as a strategy for denuclearization, and the implications for Northeast Asia. View photos.

Rooting Out Corruption: The Korean Investigation System and the Role of Prosecutors

Soonam Kim
Former Prosecutor General of the Republic of Korea
Soonam Kim talk poster

September 12, 2018

In sixty years, Korea went from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the wealthiest--part of the trillion dollar club. The fight to root out corruption is a key factor in achieving economic growth by ensuring fair competition. Soonam Kim discussed how Korean prosecutors have investigated and eliminated corruption in Korean society. View photos.


2017 Events


Precarious Equilibrium: East Asian Power Dynamics and the Question of Peace in Korea

On October 20, 2017 together with the Korea Institute for National Unification, the Center held an all-day conferenece exploring the Korean Question from a balance of power perspective. Participants included Bradley Babson, Bowdoin College; Kuyoun Chung, KINU; John Delury, Yonsei University; Alexis Dudden, University of Connecticut; Henri Féron '16, Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia Law School; Kyu-Chang Lee, KINU; Terence Roehrig, U.S. Naval War College; Jeong-Ho Roh '88, Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia Law School; and Chang-Seok Yang, Ignis Community.

Columbia-KIOST Joint Project on International Dispute Resolution
October 13, 2017

On October 13, 2017, together with the Korea Institute for Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), the Center held an all-day conference on international dispute resolution with a focus on issues related to optional exceptions to compulsory jurisdiction under UNCLOS and the implications of the Philippines v. China merits award. Panelists included Richard Barnes, University of Hull; Henri Féron '16, Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia Law School; Nong Hong, Institute for China America Studies/China Institute, University of Alberta; Changyoul Lee, KIOST; Simon Olleson, Three Stone; Jeong-Ho Roh '88, Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia Law School; and Christine Sim, National University of Singapore. Additional research contributors include Penelope Nevill of 20 Essex Street.


Japan at the Crossroads: The Constitutional Debate and the Korea Factor

Professor Alexis Dudden
University of Connecticut
Poster advertising Dudden talk

November 10, 2017

There are deep divisions within Japanese society over possible constitutional changes, most pressingly the redefinition of Article 9’s proscription against waging war abroad. In the mix, ideas about North and South Korea inform Japan’s debate in significant ways—not only in terms of Japan's military posture but also other critical issues such as the reach of the state and official reflection on the nation’s past history. Professor Dudden spoke about the ways in which Korea continues to be a necessary foil in Japanese discussions about Japan with topics as diverse as ICBMs to surviving victims of Japan’s colonial and wartime era.

Poster for Kim Ki-jung talk

A New Vision for Peace on the Korean Peninsula

Professor Ki-Jung Kim
Yonsei University

November 13, 2017

The Korean Peninsula is today on the brink of war. The rapid acceleration of North Korea's nuclear weapons development is destabilizing the precarious Armistice Agreement that suspended armed conflict between the Koreas and their allies in 1953. This represents an existential problem for South Korea, which would be first in the line of nuclear fire if hostilities broke out.  Professor Kim explained the Moon administration's search for a new mechanism to ensure peace endures on the Korean Peninsula.

Poster for Ambassador Cho event

Korea's Multilateral Diplomacy: Challenges and Vision

His Excellency Cho Tae-yul
Permanent Representative of the ROK to the United Nations

April 18, 2017

Since the end of World War II, South Korea’s foreign policy has been largely shaped by security concerns triggered by North Korea and the interface among the powers surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Today, the growing nuclear threat posed by the Kim Jong-un regime has increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The near future outlook for peace and stability is far from certain. Ambassador Cho addressed these issues, and during an extended Q&A, opened the discussion to include, among others, the North Korean nuclear issue, the autocratic regime of Kim Jong-un, the future of the US-Korea alliance, the triangular relationship between the US, China and Korea, the deployment of THAAD, and Japan-Korea relations. View photos.

2016 Events


Columbia-KIOST Joint Project on International Dispute Resolution

On September 8, 2016, together with the Korea Institute for Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), the Center held an all-day conference on procedures related to territorial dispute resolution under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

See photos of the 2016 conference.

Pathways to a Peaceful Korean Peninsula: Denuclearization, Reconciliation and Cooperation

On September 21, 2016 together with the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), the Center held an all-day conference exploring the complex issues surrounding South Korea-North Korea unification, with an emphasis on denuclearization, cooperation and reconciliation. Topics discussed included the legal framwork of diplomacy under the San Francisco system, nuclear diplomacy, the sanctions regime against North Korea, conditions for rapprochement, state succession, and models for unification.  Panelists included Kyung-ok Do, KINU; Henri Feron, Columbia Law School; Ruediger Frank, University of Vienna; Alexandre Mansourov, U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS; Ye Joon Rim, KINU; Jeong-Ho Roh, Columbia Law School; Leon Sigal, Social Science Research Council; Hazel Smith, UCLAN; Joel S. Wit, U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS; and Chang-Seok Yang, Ignis Community. 

See photos from the conference.

The book published following the conference, Pathways to a Peaceful Korean Peninsula: Denuclearlization, Reconciliation and Cooperation is available. Please send inquires to Joan Wargo,


cover of journal

Who are 'We the People'?: Politics of Constitution-making in Postwar Japan and Korea

Professor Chaihark Hahm
Yonsei University

November 15, 2016

What does it mean to say that it is "We the People" who "ordain and establish" a constitution? Who are those sovereign people, and how can they be so? Can a sovereign "people" exist prior to the constitution making process? Interweaving history and theory, Professor Chaihark Hahm discussed these questions by revisiting the constitutional politics of postwar Japan and Korea. View photos.


poster of comfort women

Bearing Witness:  Abduction, Coercion, and Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in Korea, 1931-1945

April 12, 2016

From 1931 to 1945, between 100,000 and 200,000 girls and young women were forced into sexual servitude in Japanese military "comfort stations," but only in recent years have survivors begun to come forward to talk about their experiences.  The Center for Korean Legal Studies, the Korean Graduate Student Association, and House of Sharing presented a rare opportunity to hear the personal stories of Lee Ok-Sun and Kang Il-Chul, two of the remaining survivors.  See photos from the event.