The Future of the U.S.-ROK Alliance

The world is undergoing epochal change, and much of this change is driven by transformations in East Asia, particularly the rise of China as a major military, economic, and technological power. In recent years, Washington and Beijing have pursued ideological, nationalistic policies, forcing U.S. allies in East Asia to balance its security relations with the United States and economic ties with China. What are the lessons learned from the 2017 deployment of the anti-missile system, known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)? How can Washington and Seoul better cooperate to bolster the alliance and U.S. allies’ resilience to economic coercion and undue political influence, while also ensuring peaceful and constructive relations with Beijing? Join the Quincy Institute and South Korea-based think tank Sejong Institute at our webinar on U.S.-ROK bilateral relations in an era of heightened competition between the United States and China. Panelists are former Deputy Minister for Planning and Coordination at the Ministry of National Defense Jungsup Kim, Professor at Ajou University Heung-Kyu Kim, Director of East Asia Program at the Quincy Institute Michael D. Swaine, and Senior Research Fellow on East Asia Jessica J. Lee. Jung-Yeop Woo, Research Fellow at the Sejong Institute, will moderate this timely discussion. The discussion will take place on Tuesday, December 1, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM EST.


Michael D. Swaine

Michael D. Swaine, director of QI’s East Asia program, is one of the most prominent American scholars of Chinese security studies. He comes to QI from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he worked for nearly twenty years as a senior fellow specializing in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international relations. Swaine served as a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Swaine has authored and edited more than a dozen books and monographs, including Remaining Aligned on the Challenges Facing Taiwan (with Ryo Sahashi; 2019), Conflict and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Strategic Net Assessment (with Nicholas Eberstadt et al; 2015) and many journal articles and book chapters. Swaine is directing, along with Iain Johnston of Harvard University, a multi-year crisis prevention project with Chinese partners. He also advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues.

Swaine received his doctorate in government from Harvard University and his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

Jessica J. Lee

Jessica J. Lee is a Senior Research Fellow in the East Asia Program at the Quincy Institute. Her research focuses on U.S. foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific region, with an emphasis on alliances and North Korea. Previously, Lee led the Council of Korean Americans (CKA), a national leadership organization for Americans of Korean descent. Prior to CKA, Lee was a Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum in Honolulu. Previously, Lee was a senior manager at The Asia Group, LLC, a strategy and capital advisory firm. She began her career on Capitol Hill, first as a professional staff member handling the Asia region for the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and then as a senior legislative assistant on international security and trade for a member of Congress on the Ways and Means Committee.

Lee’s analysis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, USA Today, the Washington Times, and The Nation. Lee serves on the board of International Student Conferences, Inc., a U.S. nonprofit that supports cultural exchange between students from the United States, South Korea, Japan, and China. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of CKA. Lee holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College and an A.M. in Regional Studies-East Asia from Harvard University.

Heung-kyu Kim

Heung-Kyu Kim is a professor at Ajou University. He received his BA and MA in international relations at Seoul National University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He is a founder of the China Policy Institute and serves as Director and Professor in the department of political science at Ajou University. He previously served for six years as Professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS), MOFA. He was a visiting researcher at Georgetown University in 2018.

Dr. Kim's current assignments include board membership at the National Security Council in the Blue House, Presidential Commission on Policy-Planning, Presidential Unification Advisory Council, National Assembly, National Defense Reform Commission in the Ministry of National Defense, and Reform Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously, Dr. Kim was an executive consultant in the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee in the Moon Jae-in admnistration and a regular participant at ROK-China Strategic Dialogues and at Korea-China Professional Commission hosted by the MOFA.

Jung-sup Kim

Jungsup Kim is a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute. Before joining the Sejong Institute, Dr. Kim, Jungsup served for 27 years as a civil servant at the Ministry of National Defense of the ROK government. During this time, he held various positions of director for defense budget, military organization, and international policy. In addition, he served as a staff member of the National Security Council(NSC) in presidential office for 4 years. Most recently, Dr. Kim was Deputy Minister for Planning and Coordination at the Ministry of National Defense. He graduated from Seoul National University in 1993 and earned Ph.D in International Relations at the University of Oxford in 2005.

Jung-Yeop Woo (Moderator)

Jung-Yeop Woo is a director of the Center for American Studies at the Sejong Institute. He studied at Seoul National University, Georgetown University and received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research interests are international security, US foreign policy, and the US-South Korea relations. Previously, Dr. Woo was a research fellow and director of the Center for Security Policy at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Foreign Intervention in Civil Wars (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017). His recent publication in academic journals includes “Changing Security Environment in Northeast Asia and South Korea’s Security Dilemma” (2019), “North Korea’s Incomplete Denuclearization and Issues of ROK-U.S. Alliance” (2019), and “Can We Predict North Korea-US Relations?” (2018).