Endgame in Pyongyang:
The U.S., China, and the Geopolitics of the Korean Peninsula
Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum
October 25, 2017

Synopsis •  Program Transcript

In his speech to the United Nations on September 24, 2017 President Donald Trump said that de-nuclearization was the only acceptable future for Premier Kim Jong Un’s future as leader of North Korea. U.S. forces are committed to protecting Asian allies including Seoul and Tokyo, while Beijing wants to maintain influence and keep stability on its neighboring Korean Peninsula. What are America and China’s defense and diplomatic options? How will the North Korean nuclear crisis shape the future of bilateral relations between the U.S. and China?

Participants

Dr. Bruce W. Bennett is a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation who works primarily on research topics such as strategy, force planning, and counterproliferation within the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center and the RAND Arroyo Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program. His Northeast Asian research has addressed issues such as future ROK military force requirements, the Korean military balance, counters to North Korean chemical and biological weapon threats in Korea and Japan, dealing with a North Korean collapse, potential Chinese intervention in Korean contingencies, changes in the Northeast Asia security environment, and deterrence of nuclear threats (including strengthening the U.S. nuclear umbrella). He has worked with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, U.S. Forces Korea and Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command and Central Command, the ROK and Japanese militaries, and the ROK National Assembly. Bennett received his B.S. in economics from the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Dr. Marco Milani is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dornsife College – Korean Studies Institute, University of Southern California. He received his doctoral degree in History and International Relations of Asia with a dissertation on the cooperation between North and South Korea. Previously, he has been visiting research fellow at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (South Korea) and at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (Holland), and research fellow at the University of Bologna. He is currently working on a book manuscript based on his research titled, ‘The Evolution of Inter-Korean Cooperation: History, Theory and Practice.’ His research interests include: Inter-Korean relations, History and International Relations of East Asia, Korean Studies and IR Theory.

Dr. Dorothy Solinger is Professor of Politics and Society at the the University of California, Irvine. She is a leading expert on political change and Chinese domestic politics focusing on social and economic policy. She uses a comparative approach to issues such as industrial policy, urban welfare and democratization processes. She teaches courses on Chinese politics, introduction to comparative politics, East Asian politics, regime change in East Asia, and theories of the state. She is the author and editor of several books including, “China’s Transition from Socialism?”, “Contesting Citizenship in Urban China,” and “From Lathes to Looms: China’s Industrial Policy in Comparative Perspective, 1979-1982).

Jonathan Movroydis (moderator) is the director of research at the Nixon Foundation.