Dr. Sung-Yoon Lee - Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor in Korean Studies and Assistant Professor, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
North Korea is the world’s sole Communist hereditary dynasty; the world’s only literate, industrialized, urbanized peacetime economy to have suffered a famine; the world’s most cultish totalitarian system; and the world’s largest military in terms of manpower and defense spending proportional to population and national income. These contradictions often render North Korea misunderstood. Dr. Lee will address five most common myths about North Korea that have policy implications, and offer a prescription for debunking them.
Sung-Yoon Lee is Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professorship of Korean Studies and Assistant Professor at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. Lee is Associate in Research at the Korea Institute, Harvard University, and a former Research Fellow of the inaugural National Asia Research Program, a joint initiative by the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Lee’s essays on the international politics of the Korean peninsula have been published in the LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, Asia Times, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Far Eastern Economic Review, Imprimus, etc. Recent publications include “North Korean Exceptionalism and South Korean Conventionalism: Prospects for a Reverse Formulation?” Asia Policy 15 (January 2013), “Don’t Engage Kim Jong Un—Bankrupt Him,” Foreign Policy (January 2013), “The Pyongyang Playbook,” Foreign Affairs (August 2010), “Engaging North Korea: The Clouded Legacy of South Korea’s Sunshine Policy,” Asian Outlook (AEI Press, April 2010), and “Life After Kim: Planning for a Post-Kim Jong Il Korea,” in Foreign Policy (February 2010).
In Fall 2005 Lee launched at the Korea Institute, Harvard University, a new seminar series, the “Kim Koo Forum on U.S.-Korea Relations.” He has taught Korean history and politics at Bowdoin College, Sogang University, and Seoul National University. Lee has testified as an expert witness before a U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing on North Korea policy and has advised senior officials in the U.S. government.
Lee is a frequent commentator on major international media organizations, including BBC, PBS, NPR, PRI, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CBC, CCTV, Al Jazeera, etc. He recently co-authored an op-ed in the International New York Times on March 7th, calling on the US to target Kim Jong Un’s profligacy. The main argument is that sanctions can be a tool to make Kim Jong Un’s misused wealth a source of funding for the UN’s underfunded aid programs.