The Sasakawa USA Research Policy Lunch Series continued on December 8 with an off-the-record lunch on the topic of “U.S. Alliances in East Asia: Tackling the North Korea Issue.” The featured speaker was Ambassador Joseph Y. Yun, Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State. The discussion was moderated by Ambassador James Zumwalt, CEO of Sasakawa USA.
The discussion centered on North Korea’s continued missile and nuclear weapons tests and the escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula. On November 28, North Korea tested a missile capable of striking targets almost anywhere in the world. The state’s continued missile and nuclear tests, and the apparent improvements in North Korean missile technology, show that despite international sanctions and pressure, Kim Jong Un is determined to continue North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs. This has implications for the security and safety of U.S. allies in East Asia, as well as for the continental U.S. itself.