Security Risks and Challenges on the Korean Peninsula: Discussion with Victor Cha and Jean Lee


Presented in partnership with the Council of Korean Americans

Korean Peninsula

Despite vague promises made at the June 2018 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to denuclearize, numerous reports have since confirmed the reality that North Korea is covertly proceeding with the development of nuclear warheads and delivery systems. This includes continued construction of a second ballistic-missile submarine as well as accelerated production of enriched uranium. As U.S.–North Korea nuclear negotiations have stalled, with working-level talks in October ending fruitlessly, the relations between North and South Korea have also strained despite offers of talks by the South. North Korea has rejected the proposal and accused South Korea of "double-dealing behavior," also warning that any resumption of the planned U.S.–South Korean military drills would essentially end further nuclear negotiations.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un has officially visited China four times in the past two years and China's economic assistance to North Korea accounts for about half of all Chinese foreign aid. But while Beijing appears willing to condemn its neighbor's nuclear developments, its policies towards North Korea have remained status quo and not served as a deterrent for North Korea to take steps towards denuclearizing.

As such, rising geopolitical tensions on the peninsula and in the region are among the top concerns of security analysts across the globe. How can the U.S. and international community incentivize North Korea to return to the table for nuclear talks? What roles do other regional countries such as China play in averting potential conflict? Join Asia Society Texas Center as experts discuss the security challenges and associated risks on the Korean peninsula.


Thursday, January 30, 2020
6:15 p.m. Registration
6:30 p.m. Program

About the Speakers

Victor Cha

Victor Cha joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. in May 2009 as a senior adviser and the inaugural holder of the Korea Chair. He is professor of government and holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown University. In July 2019, he was appointed vice dean for faculty and graduate affairs in SFS. He left the White House in 2007 after serving since 2004 as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). He is the author of five books, including the award-winning Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle (Stanford University Press, 1999) (winner of the 2000 Ohira Book Prize) and The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Harper Collins Ecco, 2012), which was selected by Foreign Affairs as a “Best Book on the Asia-Pacific for 2012.”

Dr. Cha is a former John M. Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University, two-time Fulbright Scholar, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Scholar at Columbia University, and Hoover National Fellow, CISAC Fellow, and William J. Perry Fellow at Stanford University. He is currently a fellow in Human Freedom (non-resident) at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas, Texas. He has testified before Congress numerous times on Asian security issues. In 2018, he joined NBC and MSNBC as a contributor and has previously been a guest analyst for various media including CNN, ABC, CBS, The Colbert Report, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Fox News, PBS, HuffPost, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, BBC, and National Public Radio. Dr. Cha received his Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University in 1994, his Master’s in international affairs from Columbia in 1988, an M.A. with honors in philosophy, politics, and economics from Oxford University (Hertford College), and an A.B. in economics from Columbia in 1979

Jean H. Lee

Jean H. Lee is a Pulitzer-nominated veteran foreign correspondent and expert on North Korea. Lee led the Associated Press news agency’s coverage of the Korean Peninsula as bureau chief from 2008 to 2013. In 2011, she became the first American reporter granted extensive access on the ground in North Korea, and in January 2012 opened AP’s Pyongyang bureau, the only Western text/photo news bureau based in the North Korean capital. She has made dozens of extended reporting trips to North Korea, visiting farms, factories, schools, military academies and homes in the course of her exclusive reporting across the country. During Lee's tenure, AP’s coverage of Kim Jong Il’s 2011 death earned an honorable mention in the deadline reporting category of the 2012 Associated Press Media Editors awards for journalism in the United States and Canada. Lee also won an Online Journalism Award in 2013 for her role in using photography, video and social media in North Korea, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in feature reporting in 2013.

Lee is a native of Minneapolis. She has a bachelor's degree in East Asian Studies and English from Columbia University, and a master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She worked as a reporter for the Korea Herald in Seoul, South Korea, before being posted with AP. Lee served as a Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar and Global Fellow before joining the Asia Program as Korea Center program director. She is a contributor to The New York Times Sunday Review, Esquire magazine, and other publications. She appears as an analyst for CNN, BBC, NPR, PRI and other media, and serves frequently as a guest speaker on Korea-related topics. She is a member of the National Committee on North Korea and Council of Korean Americans.

About the Moderator

Eddie Allen

Edward “Eddie” R. Allen is a co-founder and Senior Partner of Eagle Global Advisors, an investment advisory firm based in Houston, Texas. He serves on the management committee and all investment committees of the firm. In addition to serving as a co-manager of the Eagle MLP Strategy Fund, he is a portfolio manager for a variety of institutional and high net worth clients. Eddie is a co-creator of many of the portfolio strategies and proprietary investment management tools of the firm.

Eddie received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago and his B.S.E. in Engineering from Princeton University. Eddie holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is also a member the CFA Society of Houston. Before entering the investment advisory business, Eddie served as an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Houston.

Eddie currently serves as Chairman of the Asia Society Texas Center and is on the board of the Asia Society Global organization. He also currently serves on the boards of The Menil Collection and The Chinquapin School. He is a past board member of St. John’s School and past Chair and President of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Asia Society Texas Center Business & Policy Programs, Endowed by

Huffington Foundation

Business and Policy programs at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Bank of America, Muffet Blake, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, United Airlines, and Wells Fargo. Major support comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy Pollok Guinee, and Mary Lawrence Porter, as well as The Brown Foundation, Inc. and Houston Endowment. Additional funding is provided by the Friends of Asia Society Texas Center, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing the best in public programming.

Business & Policy Presenting Sponsors

B&P Sponsors FY2020

Presenting Partner

Council of Korean Americans

This program is made possible due to the generous support of the Korea Foundation.

Korea Foundation

Promotional Partners

Promotional Partners

Event Details

Thu 30 Jan 2020
6:15 - 7:30 p.m.

1370 Southmore Boulevard

Houston, Texas 77004


Buy Tickets
$15 Members, $25 Nonmembers
Add to Calendar 20200131T001500 20200131T013000 UTC Asia Society: Security Risks and Challenges on the Korean Peninsula: Discussion with Victor Cha and Jean Lee 1370 Southmore Boulevard Houston, Texas 77004 713.496.9901