The Korea Chair team takes a biweekly look back at events of interest in Washington, Seoul, and the region from June 2 - June 15, 2016

U.S.-ROK RELATIONS | Trilateral Defense Summit during Shangri-La Dialogue
On June 4, U.S. secretary of defense Ash Carter, ROK’s minister of national defense Han Min-koo, and Japan’s defense minister Gen Nakatani met on the sidelines of the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. The trio discussed the Asian security environment and North Korea’s nuclear program, and agreed on the need to enhance three-way defense cooperation through drills, exercises, and strengthening information sharing.

ECONOMICS AND TRADE | BOK Lowers Its Base Rate and Releases Economic Forecast
On June 9, the Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea decided to lower their base rate from 1.5 percent to 1.25 percent to account for factors that affect the global economy—including monetary policy normalization by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the economic conditions of the emerging market countries, and the international fluctuating oil prices. In a separate report, the Research Department of Bank of Korea revealed that there has been no clear trend in domestic demand and a slump in exports.

INTER-KOREAN RELATIONS | New Vice Unification Minister Kim Hyung-suk Appointed
On June 8, President Park appointed Kim Hyung-suk, former spokesperson of the ROK Ministry of National Unification and Blue House unification secretary, as vice unification minister. He served for nearly 30 years in unification affairs, since he passed the National Civil Service Exam in 1989. He also served as spokesperson in the Ministry of National Unification.