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Jooinn Lee Lecture to Explore “The North Korea Crisis”

Two hands in a handshake imposed over the image of an explosion
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
October 25, 2017

Joel S. Wit, senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior research fellow at Columbia University Weatherhead
Institute for East Asian Studies, will deliver the 2017 Jooinn Lee Lecture on Wednesday, November 1, at 7 p.m. in Imholte Hall 109. Wit's talk, "The North Korea Crisis: Peering into the Future," is free and open to the public.

According to Wit: "With tensions increasing on the Korean peninsula, and the growing danger posed by North Korea's weapons of mass destruction, concerns have also mounted that Washington and Pyongyang are headed for an armed clash that could escalate into a second Korean War. The media has been filled with a dizzying array of prescriptions about how to deal with Pyongyang ranging from at one end of the spectrum, intensified pursuit of diplomacy to at the other end, launching a preemptive military attack or overthrowing the North Korean regime. Many of these prescriptions are 'magical thinking,' proposals that have little relationship to the on-the ground realities of North Korea and are impossible to achieve. The key question for the United States is, given the serious situation, how can the US fashion a strategy for the future that has a chance of preventing the growing threat from growing further, protecting America's allies and maintaining international peace and security? Fashioning such a strategy will require going beyond Washington's focus on sanctions and pushing China to solve this problem to using every policy tool at our disposal. But whether the United States is capable of doing that in the age of Trump remains unclear."

Wit was a key participant in the establishment of the Korean Peninsular Energy Development Organization. He prior was assigned to the State Department's Office of Strategic Nuclear Policy, where he was responsible for US policy on issues related to nuclear arms control and weapons proliferation. Wit has written numerous articles on Northeast Asian security issues and on North Korea and nonproliferation. He is coauthor of Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis. Wit received his MIA from Columbia University and his BA from Bucknell University.

The Jooinn Lee Lecture Series honors Jooinn Lee, professor emeritus of political science and retired Division of the Social Sciences chair. The endowed lecture series brings to campus distinguished alumni, scholars, and prominent practitioners representing the field of politics. The Jooinn Lee Lecture Series is made possible through charitable gifts to the University of Minnesota, Morris.