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Meet the Expert | Koen de Ceuster

Meet the Expert | Koen de Ceuster

University Lecturer in Korean Studies dr. Koen de Ceuster has expertise in the intellectual and socio-cultural history of modern Korea, historiography and the politics of memory in contemporary Korea, North Korean art theory and practice, and inter-Korean affairs. Especially for his knowledge and interest in North Korea, dr. Koen de Ceuster recently appeared in the media several times.

Dr. Koen de Ceuster received his PhD in Japanese Studies at the K.U. Leuven in Belgium in 1994 with a dissertation titled: From Modernization to Collaboration, the Dilemma of Korean Cultural Nationalism: the Case of Yun Ch’i-ho [1865-1945]. Afterwards he quickly became a lecturer in Korean Studies at Leiden University in 1995 where he works to this day and he is also associated with the LeidenAsiaCentre.

Due to the many developments in North Korea, Dr. Koen de Ceuster has been interviewed by multiple media outlets in late April concerning this news (most referred articles are in Dutch):

In late March he wrote a small article on the website of Leiden University regarding the announcement by US President Donald Trump on March 9th in response to the invitation for a summit meeting with the North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un. According to Koen de Ceuster the media ignores the complexity and dynamics of the underlying problems as he explains the origin of this seemingly sudden rapprochement.

On April 20th he was interviewed by Knack  on the meeting between Kim Jung-un and CIA-director Mike Pompeo where he speaks about the Korean conflict and its current condition. One day later Koen was also interviewed by RTL Nieuws regarding the announcement that North Korea will stop with their nuclear tests in which he noted that this does not however mean that North Korea stops being a nuclear power. De-nuclearisation is but a gesture and can only come true when both sides trust one another.

Not long afterwards another interview followed on April 27th with the newspaper Trouw on the meeting between North and South Korea in which he stated that he believes that peace can be achieved between the two Koreas. Afterwards in Het Laatste Nieuws he explained that these drastic changes with Kim Jung-un is not the result of a sudden change of conscience, but merely meant as a way for North Korea to be able to grow without the existence of any sanctions.