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Robert King

Non-Resident Fellow
Korea Economic Institute of America
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About Robert King

Ambassador Robert King is currently a Non-Resident Fellow at the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) and a Senior Advisor to the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to joining KEI, he was the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues following confirmation by the United States Senate in November 2009. Ambassador King worked as the leading U.S. official on human rights and humanitarian affairs for North Korea. Prior to his appointment, he worked on Capitol Hill for 25 years. He was concurrently Staff Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives (2007-2008), Democratic Staff Director of the Committee (2001-2007), and had held various professional staff positions on the Committee since 1993. He has authored five books and more than 40 articles on international relations. Ambassador King holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

You’ve probably heard the Korean War referred to as an unfinished conflict – but that’s not just a reference to the frozen war on the Peninsula. The sudden outbreak of…

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Region: Asia

August 7, 2020

Should the international community suspend advocacy for human rights in favor of cooperation with odious regimes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic? This appears upon first glance like a trade-off, but…

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April 10, 2020

The division of the Korean Peninsula and the devastating war that followed displaced and separated millions of families. Even after 70 years, family separation remains as one of the most emotional and tragic legacies of the Korean War.With tight restrictions on foreign travel and communication in North Korea, separated families have limited ways to find and contact their families in the North. The sporadic government-sponsored reunions only occur when the political climate is in their favor. Even then, thousands of families, including the member of Korean diaspora in the United States, do not get to participate.

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July 16, 2020
Robert King, Soojin Park, Paul Kyumin Lee

Thomas Bach, current Chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), published a lengthy opinion piece about the Olympic Games last October.  In a strong defense of the games as “an event that unites the world,” he unequivocally proclaimed that “the Olympic Games are not about politics.” While keeping politics out of the Olympic Games may…

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Region: Asia

April 9, 2021

The first trip abroad by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense in a new administration are closely watched for clues to the administration’s foreign policies.  In making the decision which foreign country to visit first, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense separately telegraph foreign and defense policy priorities.  The…

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Region: Asia, North America

March 16, 2021

A three-hour military parade and a fireworks display in Pyongyang on January 14 punctuated the end of the 8th Congress of the Workers Party of Korea.  The 8th Congress, which lasted eight days, was the first such high party gathering since 2016 and only the second since the 6th Congress was held in 1980.  Such…

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Region: Asia

January 19, 2021

The UN Security Council discussed North Korea’s human rights abuses in a closed session on Friday December 11.  Because of the Covid pandemic, it was a virtual (online) meeting rather than an in-person session, and because of Chinese and Russian objections, it was a closed session without the presence of news media to report on…

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December 15, 2020