SEOUL, April 10 (Korea Bizwire) — A U.S. think tank, noted for its research on North Korea, plans to close next month following the South Korean government’s decision to cut off funding, a news report said Tuesday.
Robert Gallucci, chairman of the U.S.-Korea Institute (USKI) at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, told the Associated Press that the institute will cease operating after it rejected Seoul’s demand that it replace its leadership.
He called the demand “utterly inappropriate meddling” in its academic affairs, according to the AP.
The USKI runs 38 North, a well-known website specializing in North Korea issues. The website will be able to continue its operations beyond May, as it has alternative sources of funding, the AP said.
The Seoul government has provided the USKI with 2 billion won (US$1.87 million) annually since its inception in 2006.
The sponsorship is administered by the state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), which is supervised by the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences (NRC) under the Prime Minister’s Office.
The KIEP plans to stop the funding from June. It cited the USKI’s failure to meet the parliament’s demand to improve the transparency of its operations and accounting and to make a report on any progress by March this year as the reasons for the decision.
In the interview with the AP, Gallucci claimed that the institute’s financial reporting was “very thorough” and there was no mismanagement of funds. He said he had asked the Seoul government for evidence and had “gotten zero” from it.