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How to Contain Kim Jong Un

  • Alys Stephens Center (map)

2017 is a banner year for North Korea, marked by several menacing milestones: The nation's most powerful nuclear test to date in September, two successful inter-continental ballistic missile tests in July, and three successful intermediate-range ballistic missile tests. While the U.S. and its allies have vacillated for 25 years between indecisive diplomacy and half-hearted sanctions, Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threat capability has grown markedly. How much longer can the status quo hold? Can we live with a nuclear North Korea? 

This is the first BCFR meeting of the 2017-2018 program year. We are thrilled to announce that we will be joined by Sung-Yoon Lee of Tufts Univerity. Mr. Lee is the Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor in Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School.

Mr. Lee is a former Research Fellow with the National Asia Research Program, a joint initiative by the National Bureau of Asia Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Associate in Research at the Korea Institute, Harvard University. In 2005, he launched at Harvard’s Korea Institute a new seminar series, the “Kim Koo Forum on U.S.–Korea Relations.” He has taught courses on Korean political history at Bowdoin College (2000), Sogang University (2007), and Seoul National University (2012, 2013). Recent publications include “North Korean Exceptionalism and South Korean Conventionalism: Prospects for a Reverse Formulation?” Asia Policy 15, “The Pyongyang Playbook,” Foreign Affairs, “Engaging North Korea: The Clouded Legacy of South Korea’s Sunshine Policy,” AEI Asian Outlook, and “Life After Kim: Preparing for a Post-Kim Jong Il Korea,” Foreign Policy. His essays have been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Asia Times, The Weekly Standard, Christian Science Monitor, Far Eastern Economic Review, and Imprimus. A frequent commentator on Korean affairs, Lee has appeared on BBC, NPR, PBS, PRI, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBC, NECN, Al Jazeera, among others, and has testified as an expert witness at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on North Korea policy.

Recent articles by Mr. Lee:

Why won't the U.S. use its full sanction power against North Korea?

The way to make North Korea back down