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Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia: The North Korean Nuclear Issue and the Way Ahead

North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test in September 2016. It is also making significant progress on its delivery systems, rapidly expanding its stockpile of fissile materials, and steadily improving on its nuclear weapon designs. There is growing concern that if this process continues, North Korea could soon become a clear and present danger not only to Northeast Asia, but also to the United States.

With this in mind, the US-Korea Institute at SAIS partnered with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University to convene some of the leading experts on Northeast Asia security issues to take stock of the issue and consider what steps can be taken to stabilize the situation and halt North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction. The two-day conference was held at Stanford University in mid-June and was co-chaired by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry.

The following report is a summary of the main points discussed by the participants, with the primary takeaway that there is a need for a comprehensive policy review along the lines of the “Perry Process” fifteen years ago.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jae H. Ku, PhD, Director

Education:

PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; MSc from the London School of Economics; AB from Harvard University.

Background:

Jae H. Ku is the Director of the US-Korea Institute (USKI) at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Before joining the USKI, he was the Director of the Human Rights in North Korea Project at Freedom House. He has taught at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul, Korea), Brown University, Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea), and Sookmyung Women’s University (Seoul, Korea). His research interests are: Inter-Korean Relations, US-Korea relations, Democracy in Asia, and Human Rights in North Korea. He has been a recipient of both Fulbright and Freeman fellowships.

Publications:

His recent works include: Energy Security Cooperation in Northeast Asia, Ed. By Bo Kong and Jae H. Ku, Routledge, New York, 2015; “The Decline of Political Participation in Korea Between 2000-2011,” in Incomplete Democracies in the Asia-Pacific, Ed. By Giovanna Maria Dora Dore, Jae H. Ku, and Karl D. Jackson, Palgrave MacMillan, London, 2014; Co-Editor, China’s Domestic Politics and Foreign Policies and Major Countries’ Strategies Toward China, Korea Institute for National Unification, Seoul, South Korea, December  2012; Co-Author, “The Uneasiness of Big Brother-Littler Brother Relationships: China’s Relations with Neighboring Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Myanmar,” in China’s Domestic Politics and Foreign Policies and Major Countries’ Strategies Toward China, Korea Institute for National Unification, Seoul, South Korea, December  2012; Co-Author, Northeast Asia in Afghanistan: Whose Silk Road?, US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS, March 29, 2011; and Co-Editor, Nuclear Security 2012:Challenges of Proliferation and Implication for the Korean Peninsula, Korea Institute for National Unification, Seoul, South Korea, December 31, 2010.