US think tank launches first-ever Korea program

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jan 26, 2019 - 10:35
  • Updated : Jan 26, 2019 - 10:40

An American think tank founded by former President Richard Nixon has launched its first-ever Korea program to enhance the public discourse on issues related to the peninsula.

    The Center for the National Interest, based in Washington, recently established the Korean Studies program under the leadership of Harry Kazianis, an expert on the Koreas and formerly the think tank's director of defense studies.

    "The reason I launched this program is simple," Kazianis told Yonhap News Agency Friday. "The Korean Peninsula is one of the most fascinating geo-political hot spots on the planet thanks to the North Korea nuclear issue.
This photo, provided by Harry Kazianis (L), shows the inaugural director of the Center for the National Interest`s Korean Studies program at a roundtable discussion in Seoul in 2018. (Yonhap)

    "Add in South Korea's growing economic power, technological genius and powerful cultural pull that resonates all over the globe, my own research has been completely consumed by all things Korea over the last few years," he said.   

    As director of the new program, the center's first to focus on the Koreas, Kazianis said he will initially cover the issue of North Korea's denuclearization, including the diplomatic efforts ahead of next month's planned second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    The program will also turn to South Korea's economy and demographic trends.

    "Our goal is to present a much more complex, sophisticated and realistic picture of what is going on not only in South Korea and its relationship with the North, but its alliance with America,

 Seoul's growing demographic challenges, economic hopes as well as South Korea's role in the world today as a growing power center in Asia," Kazianis said.

    One of the first projects he hopes to embark on is a historical survey of past US and South Korean diplomatic efforts to improve ties with the North, which would shed light on the successes and failures so far.

    Meanwhile, the center's in-house publication and leading foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, will carry a new section named Korea Watch within the next two months.

    It will feature commentary and analysis by Korean and American scholars on all relevant subject matters.

    Kazianis said he is currently the only staffer. But he hopes to aggressively expand staffing as the program develops.

    The think tank was established by Nixon in 1994 to serve as a voice for strategic realism in US foreign policy, according to its website. (Yonhap)