In 2019, the CSIS Korea Chair celebrates its tenth anniversary as the premier independent platform in Washington for the advancement of major policy issues of common importance to the people of the Republic of Korea and the United States. Korea occupies a central place in U.S. strategy in Asia and plays a critical role in shaping peace and stability in the world's most prosperous and growing region.
Through nonpartisan, expert analysis of ongoing policy opportunities and security challenges facing the region, the CSIS Korea Chair promotes a greater understanding of relations between the United States, Korea, and Asia.
The CSIS Korea Chair conducts independent policy research on multiple issue-areas ranging from security to business to cybersecurity to global health. The Chair convenes public and private sector stakeholders for in-depth discussions and policy research.
CSIS appointed Dr. Victor Cha, former White House official and Georgetown University professor as the inaugural chair holder in 2009.
To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the Korea Chair will engage in new, cutting edge projects that will push the bounds of policy research on Korea, including satellite imagery, microsurveys, and big data/predictive analytics.
NextGen senior advisors in Korea and members of the business and media communities to discuss their work. They also visited the new Chey Institute for Advanced Studies to learn about their initiatives. Lastly, the scholars spoke at about their research to professors and students at public events held at Korea University and Seoul National University.
view the full video and read the report.
As the Kim-Trump meeting at the DMZ last week suggests a reset in the denuclearization diplomacy after the failed summit in Hanoi, the United States must fashion a new negotiation strategy. Here, Victor Cha of CSIS and Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA) offer some ideas for a strategy going forward (originally published in Chosun Ilbo, 2 June 2019).
Victor Cha, senior adviser and Korea Chair for CSIS, testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee On East Asia, The Pacific, And International Cybersecurity Policy on “U.S. Policy Toward North Korea After the Second Summit” on March 26, 2019.
You can also watch a quick recap of his testimony in this new CSIS “Testify” video
As part of the U.S.-Korea NextGen Scholars program, our eleven scholars will publish an op-ed as part of the program. These op-eds were workshopped at the Los Angeles Program, with feedback provided by the program chairs and the Senior Advisory Board throughout the program.
Katrin Katz, “When Tokyo and Seoul Fight, a Complacent Washington Loses”, The Diplomat, March 26, 2019.
In this article, Dr. Katz argues that conflicts between South Korea and Japan plays into the hands of North Korea and China, and while U.S.’ mediation this time around may not reap immediate success, the costs of complacency are certain.
In this article, Dr. Kim argues that if Americans lose faith in alternative routes to success, entry to top universities could become as cut-throat as it is in South Korea.
Benjamin Young, “Why the Second Summit Between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un Failed,” History News Network, April 7, 2019. In this article, Dr. Young explains why the Hanoi Summit was a failure whilst urging that the autocratic nature of the Kim regime and human rights issues not to be forgotten, despite the friendlier atmosphere of the U.S. – North Korea relations today.
In the run-up to a second Trump-Kim summit, South Korean diplomatic sources reported on Monday (January 28th) “Seoul and Washington last week confirmed that Pyongyang will scrap its Tongchang-ri [Sohae] missile engine test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts.” As of January 20, 2019, commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launch Facility shows that no new dismantling activity has occurred at the vertical engine test stand or rail-mounted processing building since August 2018. CSIS Victor Cha and Joe Bermudez explored in this snapshot what the latest satellite imagery tells us about the potential dismantlement at Sohae.
Though the subject of speculation by open-source researchers for years, new research undertaken by CSIS Beyond Parallel has located 13 of an estimated 20 North Korean missile operating bases that are undeclared by the government. In the 2nd report of our series on these bases, Korea Chair’s Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins explored the Sino-ri Missile Operating Base, which is located 212 kilometers north of the DMZ and houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1 medium-range ballistic missiles in depth.
Dr. Victor Cha appeared on PBS Newshour on January 1, 2019 with Amna Nawaz and Jenny Town to analyze Kim Jong-un’s New Year address. The segment was viewed by U.S. president Donald Trump, who tweeted after the show.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2019
With the December 26 groundbreaking ceremony at the Panmun station on the east side of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, North and South Korea are moving forward with inter-Korean railway cooperation as a key engine for advancing inter-Korean reconciliation and building the infrastructure for eventual unification. Railway re-connection would allow the Korean peninsula to be integrated into a rail network spanning the Eurasian continent through China and Russia. This report is the second in a series of CSIS original reports by Victor Cha, Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond on the inter-Korean and Korea-Eurasian railway connections including analysis, satellite imagery, and an overview of technical specifications.
Though the subject of speculation by open-source researchers for years, new research was undertaken by CSIS Beyond Parallel has located 13 of an estimated 20 North Korean missile operating bases that are undeclared by the government. Missile operating bases are not launch facilities. In this new report, Korea Chair’s Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins explored one such missile base in depth, the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base, one of the closest to the DMZ and Seoul.
The growth of markets is the single most significant socioeconomic development to occur in North Korea over the last 20 years. An understanding of this change is critical for the formulation of North Korea policy, but the underlying issues have been relatively understudied in comparison to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and prospects for denuclearization. In 2017 and 2018, Beyond Parallel launched a pioneering and original data collection project on markets in North Korea to study the changes happening in the country. As featured in “North Korea’s ‘Money Masters’ Hold Keys to Kim’s Economic Revival” by Jonathan Cheng in the Wall Street Journal.
On Monday, October 29 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security hosted a screening of its new film, The Gathering Health Storm Inside North Korea, followed by a roundtable discussion with regional experts and providers of humanitarian assistance moderated by film co-director J. Stephen Morrison. Dr. Victor Cha and Dr. Sue Mi Terry both participated in the new film and in the film screening at CSIS.
Since 2016, CSIS has partnered with an organization that has a successful track record of conducting discrete and careful surveys in North Korea. Beyond Parallel has commissioned this organization to administer micro-survey questionnaires in provinces across North Korea. The questionnaires are carried out as natural in-person conversations between those conducting the interviews and the respondents. The individuals administering the questions are carefully trained to avoid asking leading questions or eliciting specific answers so as to protect both the integrity of the interview project and as well as safety of the people involved in the conversation. Explore the results and related commentaries by visiting the project page.