Latest Activities

World Affairs Journal cover

Professor Easley’s analysis of the South Korean decisions to close the Kaesong inter-Korean industrial park and deploy the THAAD missile defense system was published in the journal, World Affairs. The two decisions aimed at countering North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are examined with particular attention to timing, domestic political context, international diplomatic signaling, and ability to influence Pyongyang’s policies. The article concludes that “understanding the dangers of escalation, and also how North Korea may have been exploiting Kaesong, are important for building consensus on a strategy to increase South Korean leverage over the North.”

* Leif-Eric Easley, “Kaesong and THAAD: South Korea’s Decisions to Counter the North,” World Affairs, Vol. 179, No. 2 (Summer 2016), pp. 21-27;

About Experts

Leif-Eric Easley
Leif-Eric Easley

Visiting Research Fellow

Dr. Leif-Eric EASLEY is a visiting research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Easley is also an associate professor of International Studies at Ewha Womans University where he teaches international security and political economics. His research interests include contested national identities and changing levels of trust in the bilateral security relationships of Northeast Asia. He was the Northeast Asian History Fellow at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University. He was also a visiting scholar at Yonsei University and the University of Southern California’s Korean Studies Institute. He is actively involved in US-Asia dialogues (Track II diplomacy) with the Asan Institute and the Pacific Forum-Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Dr. Easley received his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from Harvard University.