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Mark Tokola

Vice President
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About Mark Tokola

Mark Tokola is Vice President of the Korea Economic Institute of America in Washington, DC. He retired as a U.S. Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister-Counselor in September 2014. His last posting was as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at US Embassy London. Previously he had served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassies in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and, Reykjavik, Iceland. Among his other postings were two tours at the US Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at Embassy London, and Economic Counselor at US Embassy The Hague. He also served as Director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO) in Baghdad from 2007-2008. Mr Tokola received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on implementing the Dayton Peace Accords while serving as Political Counselor in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1997-1999. He holds a BA in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and an LL.M. in European Community Law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr. Tokola serves on the Board of Governors of DACOR: An Organization of Foreign Affairs Professionals, and on the Board of Trustees of the Bacon House Foundation.

Mr. Tokola’s spouse is Dr. Nancy S. Tokola, a physician who graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She holds post-doctoral degrees from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) in Medical and Pharmaceutical Research and from the University of Groningen (Netherlands) in Humanitarian Action. She was the first American recipient of a European Union Marie Curie Fellowship. Mr. and Dr. Tokola have four children.

On April 28, 2023, the KEI team discussed the outcome of the Biden-Yoon summit and what it signifies for the future of the US-South Korea relationship. Event description below: “On…

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We often talk about whether the sanctions against North Korea are working. And we have spoken occasionally on this very podcast about the ways North Korea also cheats and gets…

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Region: Asia

July 31, 2020

Looking back on the Korean War, one might assume that the outbreak of a violent conflict that killed millions of people would preclude the possibility of a peaceful resolution of…

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Region: Asia

July 10, 2020

The pandemic has been going on for so long that international affairs observers nearly forgot that two of America’s closest allies in one of the most consequential regions in the…

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June 5, 2020

This article was published in United States Institute of Peace on March 25, 2024. The September 13, 2023, meeting between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un in Russia’s Amur Oblast marked a…

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March 25, 2024

KEI’s Vice President  Mark Tokola was interviewed on VOA’s Washington Talk. This interview was published on June 10, 2023. https://keia.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/01000000-0a00-0242-e308-08db6945ecad_Trim.mp4   To watch the full clip on VOA, please click here.…

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June 14, 2023

Directly addressing the question of how the U.S. government should respond to China’s hostile economic behaviors, KEI Vice President Mark Tokola published an op-ed on National Interest that outlines how…

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April 22, 2021

In his latest column for the Asia Times, KEI Vice President Mark Tokola notes that there are four assumptions that underpin the U.S. approach to North Korea. There is a…

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April 1, 2021

Does the forty-fifth president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, have a foreign policy, not least of all inclusive of the vital Northeast Asian region? The question is not…

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Region: Asia

June 24, 2020

With an outbreak of diplomacy under way for the Korean Peninsula, a review of North Korea’s approach to negotiations is timely. A summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and…

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August 3, 2018

For the proverbial visitor from Mars, the political situation in Northeast Asia is inexplicable. Sitting amidst a group of relatively stable, wealthy, and powerful countries, is a small, poor, belligerent…

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August 1, 2017

Today’s relationship between the United States and China is more varied, complex, and cooperative than the accumulation of headlines would lead one to believe. The news media and commentators spotlight…

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Region: Asia

October 7, 2016

With a possible second Trump Administration less than a year away, it is worth reviewing the roots of Donald Trump’s foreign policy and seeing what lessons might be learned from his Presidency.  President Trump’s approach to foreign affairs was neither unprecedented nor incomprehensible.  Its roots are in American history, and its principles are discernible.  The…

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Region: North America

March 21, 2024

For seventy years, one of the few things that North Korea, South Korea, and the United States agreed upon was the goal of reunifying the Korean Peninsula.  No more, at least for now.  During a January 2024 speech, Kim Jung-un announced, “The reunification of Korea can never be achieved with the Republic of Korea.” He…

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Region: Asia

February 14, 2024

South Korea’s rapprochement with Japan and North Korea’s embrace of Russia significantly shaped events on the Korean Peninsula in 2023. Both promise to have a substantial impact on events in the coming year. After years of declining relations, South Korea took the initiative to mend ties with Japan by proposing a path for resolving the…

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A remarkably detailed joint statement emerged from the May 22, 2023, summit meeting in Seoul between President Yoon Suk Yeol and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel--the twin leadership of the EU.  The statement noted the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and ROK; described common…

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Region: Europe, Asia

May 25, 2023