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The Australian National University

Key Country Briefing

Understanding the Korean Peninsula

This popular series focuses on an integrated analysis of strategic, economic, political and societal trends in a number of countries which engage vital Australian interests. It is an ideal way to gain or refresh insights into key countries in the Indo-Pacific and globally.

Looking at challenges and opportunities over the next three to five years, the courses examine the countries’ developing characteristics, including the state of the economy, political and social outlooks, defence priorities and aspirations, technical innovation, internal security challenges, strategic objectives, and implications for Australian interests.

You will take a ‘deep dive’ through a series of interactive presentations, syndicate and hypothetical sessions.

Course approach

The course will be delivered as an intensive and interactive one day course. Themes will be developed through presentations and facilitated discussion, including based on a hypothetical crisis scenario.

Presenters will have deep expertise and practical experience in relation to the dynamics of change on the Korean Peninsula and the implications for Australian policy as well as broader regional engagement.

The course will identify, through interactive discussion, the relevant and important issues facing the participants’ departments and agencies in relation to the evolving Australia-South Korea relationship as well as the ongoing security challenges around North Korea. There will be a focus on how developments on the Korean Peninsula are likely to affect Australia’s interests, including our security interests, our alliance with the United States, our stakes in regional and global order, nuclear non-proliferation, and our economic relationship with South Korea.

Speakers will be include serving and former senior officials as well as experts from academia and think tanks. Part of the day will involve participation in active discussion of a hypothetical crisis scenario on the Korean Peninsula.

Course scope and content

The issues being addressed include:

  • change and continuity in the two Koreas, including societal factors, politics, economics, foreign policy,defence and security
  • current and future relations between Seoul and Pyongyang
  • regional and global implications of security developments on the Korean Peninsula, including with regard to China, Japan, the US and Russia
  • future challenges around the North Korea nuclear and missile programs
  • dynamics of Korean Peninsula security crises
  • the Australia-ROK relationship – security, economic and diplomatic – and expectations in a changing regional and global environment.



Speakers will include leading experts from academia and think tanks as well as serving and former senior officials. A key session will be presented by Dr Bruce Bennett, senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation, recognised as a world authority on the Korean military balance, related WMD issues and the dynamics of a potential North Korean collapse. Another prominent presenter will be Gordon Flake, CEO of the Perth USAsiaCentre, a long-time expert observer of Korean politics, society, economy and foreign policy. The course, including the hypothetical crisis scenario, will be facilitated by the Head of the National Security College, Professor Rory Medcalf.

Who should attend the course?

This course is designed for officers (or equivalent) from all departments and agencies who may be specifically involved in Korean and North Asian issues or who need a deeper understanding of this increasingly important subject for their professional responsibilities. APS5 – SES Band 2 policy officers and equivalents in national security agencies will benefit from this course.

Next date and venue

National Security College

Crawford Building #132a

1 Lennox Crossing
The Australian National University


Please send your nomination to

Course details

This is a one day non-residential, fully-catered course.

An ANU parking permit will be supplied.

A fee of $1200 plus GST applies to this course.

Updated:  29 March 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Head of College, National Security College/ Page Contact:  Web administrator, National Security College