Reading the Commercial Tea Leaves: New Insights into Regime Dynamics in Pyongyang


Thursday, November 8, 2012, 4:30pm to 6:30pm


Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room (S050), CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

Kim Koo Forum on Korea Current Affairs

John S. Park, Stanton Foundation Junior Faculty Fellow, Security Studies Program, MIT (starting in August 2012); Associate, Belfer Center, Harvard University (starting in September 2012)

Dr. John S. Park is the Stanton Foundation Junior Faculty Fellow at MIT and an associate at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He previously directed Northeast Asia Track 1.5 projects at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). These included the Korea Working Group, the U.S.-China Project on Crisis Avoidance & Cooperation, the U.S.-ROK-Japan Trilateral Dialogue in Northeast Asia, and the U.S.-PRC-Japan Dialogue on Risk Reduction & Crisis Prevention. He advises Northeast Asia policy-focused officials at the Departments of Defense, State and the Treasury, as well as on the National Security Council and Congressional committees.

Dr. Park previously worked at Goldman Sachs, where he specialized in U.S. military privatization financing projects. Prior to that, he was the project leader of the North Korea Analysis Group at the Harvard Kennedy School. He previously worked in Goldman Sachs’ M&A Advisory Group in Hong Kong and The Boston Consulting Group’s Financial Services Practice in Seoul.

Dr. Park’s writings have appeared in Wall Street Journal Asia, Financial Times, Jane’s Intelligence Review, International Herald Tribune (international edition of The New York Times), and Washington Quarterly. His publications include: “Assessing the Role of Security Assurances in Dealing with North Korea” in Security Assurances and Nuclear Nonproliferation (Stanford University Press, 2012); “North Korea, Inc.: Gaining Insights into North Korean Regime Stability from Recent Commercial Activities” (USIP Working Paper, May 2009); “North Korea’s Nuclear Policy Behavior: Deterrence and Leverage,” in The Long Shadow: Nuclear Weapons and Security in 21st Century Asia (Stanford University Press, 2008).

Dr. Park received his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Cambridge University and completed his pre-doctoral and postdoctoral training at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.

Chaired by Carter J. Eckert, Yoon Se Young Professor of Korean History

Assessing regime dynamics in North Korea continues to be a major challenge for analysts. By examining how North Korea, Inc. -- the web of state trading companies affiliated to the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the Korean People's Army (KPA), and the Cabinet -- operates, we can develop a new framework for gauging regime transformations in North Korea. Growing Sino-DPRK commercial activities in mainland China offers a key source of information that has yet to be comprehensively analyzed.

The Korea Institute acknowledges the generous support of the Kim Koo Foundation.