Chung Min Lee

Senior Fellow
Asia Program
tel 202 483 2277
Chung Min Lee is a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Asia Program. He is an expert on Korean and Northeast Asian security, defense, intelligence, and crisis management.
 

Education

PhD, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

MALD, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

BA, Yonsei University

Languages

English; Korean; Spanish

 

Chung Min Lee is a senior fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining Carnegie, he taught for twenty years at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) in Yonsei University in Seoul. Chung Min is a council member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). From 2013 to 2016, he served as ambassador for national security affairs for South Korea, and from 2010 to 2011 as ambassador for international security affairs.

Chung Min works primarily on Asian security with a focus on Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula. Specifically, he closely follows defense planning, force structures, military strategies and weapons systems, domestic political trends, net assessment in conflict-prone areas, and political-military intelligence estimates in key Asian states. While his major area of expertise lies in Asian security and defense, Chung Min has been an avid follower of European political and security developments through his long-term association with the IISS. Chung Min received his BA in political science from Yonsei University in 1982 and his MALD and PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1988.

He began his think tank career at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (1985-1988) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and worked at the Sejong Institute in Seoul (1989-1994) as a research fellow. He then moved to Tokyo’s National Institute for Defense Studies as a visiting fellow (1994-1995), and subsequently worked at the RAND Corporation as a policy analyst from 1995 to 1998. He also served as a visiting professor at the Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo (2004-2005) and at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (2005-2007).

At Yonsei University, Chung Min served as dean of the GSIS, the Underwood International College, and the Division of International Exchange and Education. When he was in Korea, Chung Min served on various advisory panels including the president’s foreign policy advisory council, the national security council secretariat, the ministry of defense, and the ministry of foreign affairs.

Since the late 1980s, Chung Min has written extensively on Asian and Korean security issues primarily in English but also in Korean. His latest book, Fault Lines in a Rising Asia, was published by Carnegie in 2016 and he is currently working on a book on North Korea’s political and military developments. Chung Min has conducted extensive interviews with major media groups such as CNN and BBC and is a contributing columnist in the global opinions section of the Washington Post. He has also written a number of op-eds for the Wall Street Journal. Chung Min has lived in ten countries including Korea, United States, Japan, Uganda, Germany, France, Indonesia, Republic of Congo, and Singapore.

  • U.S.-Korean relations
    Korea Strategic Review 2021 July 13, 2021
    Is South Korea Going Global? New Possibilities Together With the Biden Administration

    For a president who was determined to break the mold in South-North relations and to support the normalization of U.S.-North Korea ties, Moon seems poised to leave office with his biggest foreign policy mark on the reinvigoration of the Seoul-Washington alliance.

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  • Children
    June 29, 2021
    Demographics and the Future of South Korea

    South Korea is bracing for a momentous demographic shift that could be a bellwether of how other countries around the world will deal with aging populations in the decades to come.

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  • Op-Ed East Asia Forum April 5, 2021
    Looking Beyond the North in South Korean Foreign Policy

    As President Joe Biden begins to recalibrate the United States’ role and place in the world after Trump’s tumultuous presidency, South Korean President Moon Jae-in enters his last year in power. How much influence Moon can have in shaping Biden’s North Korea policy is unclear.

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  • The Case for South Korean Soft Power
    December 15, 2020
    The Case for South Korean Soft Power

    South Korea’s soft power reached new heights in 2020, driven by everything from its model pandemic response to cultural staples like chart-topping BTS albums. But Seoul must use this rising political capital wisely to build lasting influence beyond its borders.

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  • Pedestrians walk in the rain brought by typhoon Haishen on September 07, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.
    Q&A October 21, 2020
    South Korea Is Caught Between China and the United States

    But Seoul’s positioning is not all bad. As South Korea and other Asian countries step gingerly with one eye on the superpowers’ rivalry, there are also opportunities to be found.

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  • Ending the Korean War Won’t Be Easy As Long as North Korea Exists
    Op-Ed National Interest July 5, 2020
    Ending the Korean War Won’t Be Easy as Long as North Korea Exists

    A just, enduring peace is possible on the Korean Peninsula, but it’s not going to happen just because political leaders decide to formally end the Korean conflict.

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  • Live Recording Replay: Coronavirus and the Korean Peninsula
    Podcast May 18, 2020
    Live Recording Replay: Coronavirus and the Korean Peninsula

    As nations confront the pandemic, rumors of Kim Jong-un’s death and a flurry of North Korean missile tests injected even more uncertainty in the international landscape. How do views in Washington, Seoul, and Beijing differ or align on North Korea?

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  • Flags
    Unification Blue Book May 13, 2020
    A Peninsula of Paradoxes: South Korean Public Opinion on Unification and Outside Powers

    As South Korea ponders the future of inter-Korean ties and the prospects for unification, one abiding reality is that core security choices are going to become increasingly difficult and politically charged.

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  • The demilitarized zone
    March 18, 2020
    Korea Net Assessment 2020: Politicized Security and Unchanging Strategic Realities

    The most striking feature of the security environment on the Korean Peninsula is the gap between assessments made by political leaders and the growing array of asymmetrical threats emanating from North Korea.

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  • Why The Koreas Won’t Achieve Peace As Long As Kim Jong Un Is In Power
    Op-Ed Talking Points Memo November 5, 2019
    Why the Koreas Won’t Achieve Peace as Long As Kim Jong Un Is in Power

    Despite the seeming convergence of political interests between Kim, Moon, and Trump, a fundamental remaking of the Korean Peninsula can happen only if Kim Jong Un makes a strategic decision to save North Korea by dismantling the Kim dynasty. So long as he remains in power, however, Kim will never make that choice.

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  • The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un
    All Points Books November 5, 2019
    The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un

    North Korea is poised at the crossroads of history. Which direction will its leader take?

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  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace April 20, 2016
    Fault Lines in a Rising Asia

    While Asia has been an unparalleled economic success, it is also home to some of the world’s most dangerous, diverse, and divisive challenges.

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  • Can South Korea Sustain a Globalized Foreign Policy?
    July 20, 2021 Live Online
    Can South Korea Sustain a Globalized Foreign Policy?

    A discussion of South Korea's aspirations for a globalized foreign policy and prioritization of cooperation on transnational and nontraditional security issues in the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

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  • October 7, 2020 Live Online
    The Korean Peninsula After U.S. Elections: Role of Russia and China
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  • Politicized Security and Unchanging Strategic Realities on the Korean Peninsula
    June 1, 2020 Live Online
    Politicized Security on the Korean Peninsula

    The recently released Korea Net Assessment addresses the gap between strategic realities and political assessments on the issues most important to Korean security: North Korea’s military threat, the health of the alliance, and South Korean relations with China and Japan.

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  • China in the World Interactive Podcast: Coronavirus and the Korean Peninsula
    May 15, 2020 Live Online
    China in the World Interactive Podcast: Coronavirus and the Korean Peninsula

    As nations confront the pandemic, rumors of Kim Jung-un’s death and a flurry of North Korean missile tests injected even more uncertainty in the international landscape. How do views in Washington, Seoul, and Beijing differ or align on North Korea?

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  • The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un
    November 7, 2019 Washington, DC
    The Hermit King: The Dangerous Game of Kim Jong Un

    Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, North Korea has come closer than ever to creating a viable nuclear arsenal, but widespread famine and growing resistance are weakening his regime’s stability.

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  • U.S.-ROK Cooperation in Korean Unification: A Stabilization Framework
    May 15, 2019 Washington, DC
    U.S.-ROK Cooperation in Korean Unification: A Stabilization Framework

    As South Korea pursues engagement with North Korea, thinking about unification through a stabilization framework can provide critical clues on navigating major challenges that unification might bring.

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  • Assessing the Second U.S.-North Korea Summit
    March 4, 2019 Washington, DC 中文
    Assessing the Second U.S.-North Korea Summit

    Unpacking the second U.S.-North Korea summit is going to be a long term process but it will be seen as a major turning point—both positively and negatively—on prospects for North Korea’s denuclearization, the extent of inter-Korean détente, and the future of the U.S.-ROK alliance.

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  • Moon Jae-in and Inter-Korean Détente: Korea Strategic Review 2018
    November 16, 2018 Washington, DC 中文
    Moon Jae-in and Inter-Korean Détente: Korea Strategic Review 2018

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in allocated the bulk of his political capital to inter-Korean engagement during the first year and a half of his presidency. This strategy has paid dividends thus far. However, domestic and geopolitical forces are likely to determine his agenda’s success.

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  • October 5, 2018 Washington, DC 中文
    Turning Nuclear Swords Into Plowshares in North Korea

    A half-day conference—featuring scholars and former officials from Japan, the United States, and South Korea—will examine practical denuclearization options that can enhance collective security and contribute to a more stable foundation for regional peace.

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  • Japan-Korea
    March 8, 2018 Washington, DC
    Japan-Korea Relations 20 Years After the Kim-Obuchi Summit

    Nearly twenty years ago, the leaders of Japan and South Korea raised hopes for “a new Japan-Korea partnership for the twenty-first century,” backed by an action plan to foster broader cooperation and closer people-to-people ties.

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Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=1033

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