The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft exists to reorient United States foreign policy away from global military dominance and towards peaceful diplomatic engagement. Two of the biggest hurdles on the path toward this reconception are in developing a sustainable strategy for peace and stability in East Asia and ending America’s involvement in forever wars. At the intersection of these two goals is the Korean Peninsula, site of America’s original “endless war” and a frequent flashpoint in East Asia.
For decades, U.S. policy toward North Korea has focused primarily on denuclearization of North Korea, and has heavily relied on sanctions and threats of force to achieve this goal. The result has been sustained tensions and a brewing arms race in Northeast Asia.
Senior Research Fellow Jessica Lee has worked tirelessly to break this deadlock. She has been at the forefront of voices in Washington calling for the U.S. and South Korea to declare an end to the Korean War as a means to kick-start nuclear negotiations on the peninsula.
Jessica’s advocacy has been multi-pronged — from penning analysis for Foreign Policy, to producing educational videos for the Quincy Institute, to testifying before Congress. Last summer, Jessica visited the demilitarized zone as part of an expert delegation where she saw firsthand the impact of the protracted war on local people.
“As Americans, in the case of the Korean War, distance blinds us to how real war can be for the lives that are upended by it, even decades after fighting has ended,” Jessica says. “A policy centered on a new type of U.S.-North Korea relationship beyond the shadow of the Korean War is crucial in healing the wounds caused by this conflict and blunting the threat of nuclear conflict.”
In addition to her work to promote peace and diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula, Jessica has been a leading voice in highlighting the connections between anti-Asian violence in the U.S. and an over-the-top framing of China as an existential threat by politicians and the media. You can watch her latest video on this subject here.