The Future of Canada-DPR Korea Relations

Weingartner Consulting is proud to present the publication of Failure of Engagement or Failure to Engage, the future of Canada-DPR Korea relations. To read publication, click here.

The publication is the culmination of a year of hard work, beginning with the joining of world class experts on North Korea in the latest Virtual ThinkNet (VTN) Scenarios project. Using email and an internet-based virtual platform, more than 50 Canadian and international DPRK watchers, scholars, civil servants and NGO representatives have contributed to a process that is culminating in the creation of narratives that project four possible futures in Canada-DPRK relations within the next decade.

Focal Question: A Role for Canada?

Grappling with the focal question, “Will Canada play a significant role in encouraging the DPRK towards regional peace and stability by 2020?” participants listed 78 major and minor “forces” that drive Canada’s role in the region. The most critical and uncertain of these drivers were then positioned on a matrix that produced parameters for four distinct futures. The four scenarios were the springboard of a face-to-face consultation in Toronto on November 11th, 2009. At the day-long meeting, participants formulated strategic options for Canadian policy at both governmental and civil society levels.

The VTN ‘Brain Trust’ of North Korea experts spent the Summer defining Canada’s place in a very complex region. Although Canada is one of a small number of Western countries that has diplomatic relations with the DPRK, it has so far played a very limited role, loosely defined as a ‘not-business-as-usual’ policy. Opinions are divided as to whether Canada should, or even could, play a more active role. While the Canadian government has decided to take a back seat to the leadership of the USA in the region, some Canadian NGOs have urged a more active role, providing humanitarian assistance, English language education for North Koreans, and maintaining people-to-people contacts.

Strength in Diversity

Those involved in the Virtual ThinkNet’s ‘Brain Trust’ straddle a variety of professions and political allegiances. Some members are in the public service, and therefore participated anonymously.

What differentiates the Virtual ThinkNet from the many think-TANKs out there is that think tanks usually operate from an ideologically fixed position. Because of the inclusiveness of the VTN’s Brain Trust on North Korea, our scenarios possess an authenticity that is unique.

Sponsored by the Toronto-based Canada-DPR Korea Association, the project was managed by Weingartner Consulting, publishers of the CanKor. Weingartner Consulting’s Virtual ThinkNet hosts scenarios-building processes that mimic methodologies generally used in weeklong face-to-face workshops. With the help of Canadian tech-marketing company the SomaeGroup, the VTN used the depth and breadth of innovative social networking technologies to achieve a fertile collaboration that is accessible to busy professionals.

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