February 3, 2017

Colloquium Speaker: John Park


Dr. John Park is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Researcher at MIT. He is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He was the 2012-13 Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow at MIT’s Security Studies Program. He previously directed Northeast Asia Track 1.5 projects at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. 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 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’s Belfer Center.

Dr. Park’s publications include: “The Key to the North Korean Targeted Sanctions Puzzle,” The Washington Quarterly (Fall 2014); “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); and “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).

His current research focuses on the North Korean regime’s accumulated learning in evading targeted sanctions. Dr. Park received his M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and completed his pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.




Colloquium Topic: The Sanctions Paradox: North Korea, Inc.’s Accumulated Learning in Evading Sanctions

Dr. Park will be assessing the use of sanctions against North Korea, especially as they relate to Pyongyang’s ongoing nuclear and missile programs.  He will address three main questions:

1) Do sanctions against North Korea work, and if not, why not?

2) What, if any, unintended consequences—positive or negative—do sanctions      against North Korea generate?

3) What can be done to improve the effectiveness of these and other sanctions?

Dr. Park will closely examine the increasingly prominent role that sanctions play in American foreign policy and in nonproliferation policy, in particular.  He will provide an overview of ‘North Korea, Inc.’—the DPRK regime’s network of state-owned trading companies.  He will highlight the positive and negative unintended consequences of North Korean sanctions.  Positive unintended consequences include the creation of a ‘market for compliance’ and the North Korean elite’s engagement with the outside world.  Negative unintended consequences include improved North Korean capabilities for sanctions subversion.  Dr. Park will conclude by outlining key policy recommendations for the U.S. and China.  These cover a variety of areas, including engaging the Chinese on specific capacity building in “sanitizing” its trade with North Korea, further encouraging “compliance culture,” and alternative approaches to commercial information collection and analysis.