University of Washington

Rethinking U.S. Policy Towards North Korea


Task Force Report
Expert Evaluation Presentation
Task Force Poster

In this Task Force students explores U.S. policy towards North Korea over the past 15 years, focusing on questions of security for South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.; North Korea’s nuclear program; human rights in North Korea; humanitarian assistance to North Korea; Radio Free Asia; North Korean refugees; and so forth. Students were be asked to pay attention to the interaction and coordination of US policy towards North Korea with South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, and to whether a proactive policy has the capacity to move North Korea and China in directions positive for US policy goals. We used the global classroom in 317 Thomson for four evening interactive lectures from Korea or elsewhere.


Task Force Instructor

Clark Sorensen

Professor Clark Sorensen is an Associate Professor at the Jackson School of International Studies. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Washington in Anthropology, and M.A. in Korean Regional Studies, and a B.A. in Geography from University of California-Berkeley. He has published and taught extensively on Korea.

Expert Evaluator


Ambassador Thomas Hubbard

Ambassador Thomas Hubbard is Senior Director at McLarty Associates in Washington, D.C., where he specializes in Asian affairs. A career Foreign Service Officer for nearly forty years, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2001 to 2004, and before that as Ambassador to the Philippines from 1996-2000. Earlier in his career he served seven years in Japan, and is a Japanese speaker; and was Deputy Chief of Mission and acting Ambassador in Malaysia. Increasingly involved in Korean Peninsular affairs in the 1990s, Ambassador Hubbard was a principal negotiator of the 1994 Agreed Framework aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and headed the first senior level U.S. government delegation to North Korea. He was also President Clinton’s envoy to promote human rights and democracy in Burma. Ambassador Hubbard also serves as the chairman of The Korea Society in New York City, and sits on numerous advisory boards. He received his B.A. in political science in 1965 from the University of Alabama and has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Maryland and the University of Alabama.




Lisa Lester

Majors: International Studies, Spanish and Pre-med
As a Taskforce Editor, I hope to gain a greater understanding of interactions between the US and North Korea, and how these relations can be improved in the future. As a result of increased economic strain, North Korea appears now to need international cooperation more than ever, which presents a unique opportunity for the US to pursue a new course in order to halt the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions. Conducting such an in-depth study of the issues surrounding North Korea today provides insight into the workings of the US diplomatic apparatus and the steps that the US can take to improve foreign relations across the world, a subject which interests me greatly as an IS student.


Devin Molloy

Major: International Studies
My interest in North Korea stems from my experience in the U.S. Army, where I spent two years learning Korean language and culture at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. I have a particular interest in North Korea's nuclear weapons program, as well as the United States' negotiation policy with North Korea. As one of our Task Force's editors, I hope to help revise our students' papers into polished, viable, and effective policy recommendations.




Marianne Fisher

Major: International Studies Track: International Political Economy
My experience traveling and living in Korea has bestowed me with a better understanding of the tense relationship between the United States and the DPRK. This, in addition to previous academic course work in nonproliferation of the Korean Peninsula has equipped me with the skills necessary to coordinate the project. Guiding others, I have supported my colleagues towards the completion of the Task Force.


Marcus Foster

Major: International Studies
I am interested in learning about the way rogue regimes engage with the world. I recently published an article on conflict resolution in Sudan in the Jackson School Journal. This is what prompted my interest in US-Korean negotiations. I am also interested in foreign aid and development, and how best to manage these in deeply broken societies.

Task Force Members


Micah Bateman-Iino

Major: International Studies Track: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Peace and Security.
My work for this Task Force focused on the true military capabilities possessed by North Korea, and the options available for US policy as a result. This was a very enlightening experience for me as a whole, in that I had little knowledge of the complete picture of United States relations with the Korean Peninsula. In the future I plan to be involved in working on policy issues and relations with others across national and cultural lines, and through this project, it became apparent that sufficient and accurate background information must be known in order to make the most informed decisions. This was a great experience for policy writing, and for thinking about how the best outcomes in a situations can be realized.


Soojin Cho

Major: International Studies
I am interested in lessons learned from the Sunshine policy and how they influence the foreign policy of the ROK and the U.S. I am looking at the history of the Sunshine policy and analyzing the failures and achievements to suggest a moderate policy that falls between hard line and soft power policies in dealing with the North. With this research, I hope to see how the moderate U.S. policy can bring more significant results in negotiating with the North.

Kelly Church

Major: International Studies
Minor: French
I am interested in human rights abuses in North Korea and how they are justified by the Democratic Republic of North Korea’s regime. I am analyzing past international and US policies and how they effected the vulnerable populations within North Korea. From this, I seek to offer recommendations on how to best serve the desperate victims of human rights abuses while focusing on the relatively large impacts that NGOs have had in reducing these abuses and promoting social, inalienable rights.


Timothy Draluck

Major: International Studies and Political Science
Minor: Swedish
I am researching the North Korean food shortage and humanitarian aid policy of the United States in the DPRK. My primary focus is on creating an effective aid policy that is transparent and effectively delivers food aid to the people who need it most. I use previous the previous aid policies of the United States and their failures to new and more effective aid policy that moves away from the United States’ reliance on the UN World Food Program towards a smaller consortium of NGOs.


Leslie Edwards

Major: International Studies Tracks: Environmental Studies, Departmental Honors; Clarinet Performance,  and College Honors program
I am researching the DPRK’s internal politics, ideology, and legitimization mechanisms, focusing on how these domestic factors affect the DPRK’s interactions with the U.S. and other foreign powers. I am particularly interested in the means by which the Kim regime has maintained its authority despite significant international pressure to collapse, domestic crises, and numerous human rights abuses. Through this research I hope to understand how the U.S. can achieve its own goals by negotiating and creating policy in a way that is sensitive to the DPRK’s needs.


Celeste Gonda

Major: International Studies Track: Global Health
I am researching the conditions of refugees once they flee North Korea and the policies created around them. People interest me more than government or politics, and it interests me to see how human rights fit in with policy making. I hope to gather insight on how to successfully balance effective human rights assistance with foreign policy, if it is at all possible.


Ian Matthews

Major: International Studies
My interest in the North Korean nuclear issue comes from considerable time spent in classes pertaining to nuclear proliferation and related issues. For this Task Force, I am researching the capabilities of the North Korean nuclear complex as well as how the United States can influence North Korea to pursue nuclear energy for purely peaceful purposes.


Ai Nakamura

Major: International Studies Track: Human Rights
I am focusing my research on the inconsistencies of the United States and how they influenced the foreign policies and diplomacy towards North Korea. I am formulating recommendations specifically in terms of what the United States should do to avoid inter-administration inconsistency, diplomatic personnel inconsistency, and policy implementation inconsistency.


Kevin Shimota

Major: International Studies
I am interested in the tactical diplomacy utilized by the U.S. to engage the DPRK in negotiations and reach agreements. I enjoy traveling and living in different nations and learning to communicate across cultures. I want to understand how the U.S. communicates and implements its policy across cultures and nations.

Hattie Taylor

Major: International Studies
In this Task Force I am investigating the DPRK nuclear weapons program and its impact on the Northeast Asian region and the international nonproliferation community as a whole. Specifically, I am analyzing the nuclear capabilities and concerns of US allies in Northeast Asia as they relate to the DPRK. I am also examining the inner-workings of the DPRK governmental system. I aim to offer comprehensive recommendations on how best to approach presenting nuclear negotiations in a means that will appeal to US allies in the region, meet the needs of the international nonproliferation community, and effectively address the policy process within the DPRK.



 Alton Webb

Major: International Studies Track:Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
My research on dictatorial regimes and failed states led me to become part of this task force. While my own analysis is focused on Africa and S.E. Asia, the study of these regimes worldwide reveals patterns that provide insight into ways of working towards resolving issues associated with them.

Linda Youn

Majors: International Studies and Biochemistry
Minors: Bioethics and Humanities
I am interested in the North Korean issue because of the historical and current tensions between the DPRK and the United States. I am particularly interested in the historical role of China as the DPRK’s primary ally, the recent shift in China-North Korea relations, and Sino-U.S. relations in regards to N. Korea. I hope to devise recommendations that allow the U.S. and China to form an effective, cooperative policy to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


Adam Yousri

Major: International Studies, Asian Studies
I am interested in the Agreed Framework between the United States and North Korea. In particular, I am examining its failures and how the U.S. may act in the future to ensure consistency in future agreements with North Korea. With this information I hope to provide a basis for better diplomatic relations between the U.S. and North Korea.

Xiaohan Zhang

Majors: International Studies and Economics
I am interested in how diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea have resulted in dismal outcomes despite the effort put in by both parties. Having an interest in game theory, it was fascinating to apply theory into my research on United States-North Korean relations. My contribution to the task force involved analyzing past relations between the United States and North Korea and devising policy recommendations to improve the efficiency of U.S. efforts in future diplomatic relations with North Korea.



Center for Global Studies
International Studies Program
University of Washington
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 685-2707
(206) 685-0668 fax

Sara R. Curran
Program Chair
(206) 543-6479

Sabine Lang
Associate Program Chair

Lauren Dobrovolny
Program Coordinator
(206) 685-2707