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Bruce Klingner

Senior Research Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
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About Bruce Klingner

Bruce Klingner specializes in Korean and Japanese affairs as the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. His analysis and writing about North Korea, South Korea and Japan, as well as related issues, are informed by his 20 years of service at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Mr. Klingner is a frequent commentator in U.S. and foreign media. His articles and commentary have appeared in major American and foreign publications and he is a regular guest on broadcast and cable news outlets. 

From 1996 to 2001, Mr.  Klingner was CIA’s deputy division chief for Korea, responsible for the analysis of political, military, economic and leadership issues for the president of the United States and other senior U.S. policymakers. In 1993-1994, he was the chief of CIA’s Korea branch, which analyzed military developments during a nuclear crisis with North Korea.

Mr. Klingner is a distinguished graduate of the National War College, where he received a master’s degree in national security strategy in 2002. He also holds a master’s degree in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College in Vermont.

He is active in Korean martial arts, attaining third-degree black belt in taekwondo and first-degree black belt in hapkido and teuk kong moo sool.

Few places on earth remain as mysterious and forbidding as North Korea. Even for the best trained spies, the truth about North Korean capabilities and intentions often remains elusive. More troubling, few countries pose as great a threat to American interests as North Korea, the center of a vast enterprise of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. The regime stockpiles nuclear weapons material and shares nuclear technology with other rogue actors. Pyongyang brazenly threatens its neighbors, while Kim Jong-un – the 31-year-old dictator and son of the late Kim Jong-il – purges challengers to his authority and publicly executes those who seek access to greater freedoms.

What do we know about the North Korean threat? What would it take to lift the shroud of secrecy that looms over the Hermit Kingdom? 


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Topic: Security, North Korea, Intelligence

November 5, 2014
Fred Fleitz, Bruce Klingner, Mark Tokola

On December 17, 2013 KEI hosted a panel of speakers to discuss the prospects for the year ahead, the threats posed by North Korea, potential options for encouraging Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, and China’s role in resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. With the December 2013 execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, much of the discussion focused on North Korea as well as its relationships with: China, United States and South Korea.

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Topic: Security, Inter-Korean Relations

With the Korean National Assembly elections only days away, many questions arise on the impact the results will have on the Republic of Korea, the upcoming Presidential election and US-ROK relations.

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April 6, 2012