Senior Korean Journalist Security Forum

On September 17, I was a panelist in a roundtable discussion with Richard Vuylsteke, Denny Roy, and James Minnich at the East-West Center as part of the 2019 Senior Korean Journalist Security Forum.

East-West Center President Richard Vuylsteke kicked off the session with opening remarks, followed by comments by EWC Senior Fellow Denny Roy on North Korea and by APCSS Professor James Minnich on the ROK-US alliance. I spoke about recent tensions between South Korea and Japan from a US perspective, highlighting three key impacts on the regional and global economic and security environment. I also suggested some opportunities and limitations related to a role for the United States in mediating the dispute.

The roundtable was attended by representatives from Hankyoreh, Yonhap, Kungwon Domin Ilbo, Kukmin Ilbo, Korea Press Foundation, Seoul Shinmun, Chosun Ilbo, YTN, SBS, MBC, Dong-A Ilbo, Maeil Kyungje, JoongAng Ilbo, Segye Ilbo, and Korea News Editors’ Association, as well as US Embassy Seoul.

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Invited Lecture at US Army Japan

With Command Sergeant Major Scott Beeson, Major General Viet Luong, and staff

On August 2, I had the pleasure of visiting US Army Japan to give a presentation entitled “The Abe Security Reforms: Drivers and Constraints, Opportunities and Challenges” as part of their Leadership Professional Development Seminar series at Camp Zama. The lecture situated recent developments under the Abe administration in political, social, and historical context, providing an overview of the key domestic and international factors shaping Japan’s contemporary security policy and suggesting some challenges and opportunities that Abe’s reforms may present for the US in the future.

Thanks to US Army Japan for extending this invitation to me and for the great conversation!

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New Publication: Technology and Tensions in the Global Commons

I’m happy to announce that my article, “Technology and Tensions in the Global Commons,” is now available in the latest issue of Fletcher Security Review. I argue that advances in and diffusion of technology have transformed the global commons into increasingly crowded domains characterized by interstate competition and heightened tensions. Whether these tensions prevail depends on the creation and strengthening of regimes to manage interactions and promote shared rules and norms.

Read more:

Kristi Govella, “Technology and Tensions in the Global Commons.” Fletcher Security Review, vol 6., no. 1 (Summer 2019), pp. 38-44.

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New Publication in The Washington Post

My article on President Trump’s recent visit to Japan was published this morning in the Monkey Cage column on The Washington Post website. While Prime Minister Abe and President Trump succeeded in orchestrating an impressive display of the strengths of the US-Japan relationship, some tensions were also visible during the trip, particularly on the issues of trade and North Korea.

Read the full article

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US-Japan Network for the Future

I’m pleased to announced that I have been selected as a member of the fifth cohort of the US-Japan Network for the Future. The US-Japan Network for the Future is a two-year program designed to build and enhance a network of Japan specialists that can bring diverse expertise and perspectives to the bilateral policy-making process in the mid- and long-term. This will lead to deeper and more vigorous dialogue and research on topics of immediate concern as well as on ways to strengthen the US-Japan relationship through cooperation and shared goals in the global arena. The network includes US-Japan specialists from all regions of the United States and Japan. This program is supported by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Throughout the two-year program, participants are expected to: develop their network of contacts; engage with other Network members; engage others in the academic and policy fields with what they have learned about Japan; prepare for and actively participate in the program’s meetings, workshops, and study trip; participate in group activities and support the program’s larger goals and objectives; conduct independent research on key issues of particular interest to them; produce op-ed pieces, commentaries, and blog posts on important policy issues in U.S.-Japan relations; and produce and seek to publish or otherwise disseminate a brief policy paper. Network participants present their papers and discuss current issues in the region during the program’s last meeting, a public symposium in Washington, D.C. The program covers the costs of travel, accommodations, and meals associated with participation in program meetings and study trips.

Press Release from the Mansfield Foundation

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Joining the East-West Center as an Adjunct Fellow

I’m pleased to share that I’ve been invited to join the East-West Center as an Adjunct Fellow with the Research Program. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. It has built a worldwide network of 65,000 alumni and more than 1,100 partner organizations. Its 21-acre Honolulu campus, adjacent to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, is located midway between Asia and the U.S. mainland and features research, residential, and international conference facilities. The East-West Center was recently named the fourth best government-affiliated think tank in the world by the Lauder Institute.

The East-West Center Research Program works with research and policy communities in the US and the Asia Pacific to provide more complete knowledge and deeper understanding of environments, societies, economies, governments, and international relations in the region. Research is conducted in close collaboration with networks of individuals and institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific and is shared broadly with planners, policymakers, regional specialists, the media, and the general public.

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National Asia Research Program Fellowship

I have been named a Fellow with the National Asia Research Program (NARP), a major research and conference program organized by the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. In order to promote policy-relevant research on Asia and build bridges between academe and the policy community, 20 rising Asia scholars have been selected in a competitive, nationwide process to conduct research in four major areas: geopolitics and grand strategy, international security and military modernization, domestic transitions and transformations, and non-traditional security issues. The program provides financial support for fellows’ research, opportunities to present and publish research, and engagement with policymakers.

University of Hawaii Press Release

2019 National Asia Research Program Fellows

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Lecture at Manoa International Education Week

I was happy to be asked by the Assistant Vice Chancellor for International and Exchange Programs to be part of this year’s Manoa International Education Week. On November 15, I gave a lecture on “Trump, Asia, and the Future of the International Order” in the University of Hawaii Law School Moot Court Room. The lecture discussed areas of continuity and change in US policy toward Asia since the beginning of the Trump administration, highlighting differences in the relative amount of change in economic policy versus security policy toward the region and drawing out some potential implications for the international order more broadly. Thanks to the organizers for putting together this great event!

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Interviews with NBC, New York Times & NPR

I was recently interviewed for NBC News about Shinzo Abe’s current political outlook and his chances of becoming the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history. I also talked to The New York Times about Japan’s announcement that it had conducted a submarine drill in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

Read the full articles here:

The New York Times, “With a Submarine, Japan Sends a Message in the South China Sea,”  September 18, 2018.

NBC News, “Japan’s scandal-plagued Shinzo Abe eyes his place in history books,” August 19, 2018.

I also talked with Marketplace on NPR about Secretary Pompeo’s announcement of $113 million in US investment to the Indo-Pacific region.

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2017-2018 Talks in Review

Korean Studies Core University Conference:
Diversity, Identity, and Universality in Global Korea, University of Hawaii at Manoa

The 2017-2018 academic year was packed with conferences and talks! This year, I gave the following presentations:

  • “Ripe for Recruitment: Japanese Firms in Global Information Technology Politics.” Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco (September 1, 2017).
  • “Permeable Policymaking: Foreign Firms, Cross-National Coalitions, and Varieties of Sectoral Liberalization in Japan.” Harvard University (October 17, 2017). link
  • “Between Aid and Arms: Japan’s Emerging Approach to Defense Capacity Building.” Annual Japan Studies Association Conference, Honolulu (January 6, 2018).
  • “Globalizing Government-Business Relations: Multinational Corporations and the Japanese Pharmaceutical Market.” Association of Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Washington DC (March 23, 2018).
  • “The Shifting Nexus of Economics and Security in Asia.” Korean Studies Core University Conference: Diversity, Identity, and Universality in Global Korea, University of Hawaii at Manoa (April 6, 2018).

I was also invited to give a lecture on “Economics and Security in the Asia-Pacific” at the Joint Foreign Area Officer Phase II Pacific Course in Honolulu on March 16, and I participated as a roundtable panelist at a discussion on “Security Issues on the Korean Peninsula” at the East-West Center on April 27.

International Visitor Leadership Program: Security Issues on the Korean Peninsula, East-West Center, April 27, 2018

I had a great time meeting people and exchanging ideas this year, and I’m looking forward to incorporating some of our great discussions into my writing this summer!

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