Chung Min Lee is a Senior Fellow in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to joining Carnegie, he taught for 20 years at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS) in Yonsei University in Seoul. He is a Council Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). From 2013 to 2016, he served as Ambassador for National Security Affairs for South Korea, and from 2010 to 2011 as Ambassador for International Security Affairs.

Lee works primarily on Asian security with a focus on Northeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula. He closely follows defense planning, force structures, military strategies and weapons systems, domestic political trends, net assessment in conflict-prone areas, and political-military intelligence estimates in key Asian states. While his major area of expertise lies in Asian security and defense, Lee has been an avid follower of European political and security developments through his long-term association with the IISS. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Yonsei University in 1982 and his MALD and Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1988.

He began his think tank career at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (1985-1988) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and worked at the Sejong Institute in Seoul (1989-1994) as a Research Fellow. He then moved to Tokyo’s National Institute for Defense Studies as a Visiting Fellow (1994-1995), and subsequently worked at the RAND Corporation as a Policy Analyst from 1995 to 1998. He also served as a visiting professor at the Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo (2004-2005) and at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore (2005-2007).

At Yonsei University, Lee served as Dean of the GSIS, the Underwood International College, and the Division of International Exchange and Education. When he was in Korea, he served on various advisory panels including the President’s Foreign Policy Advisory Council, the National Security Council Secretariat, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since the late 1980s, Lee has written extensively on Asian and Korean security issues primarily in English but also in Korean. His latest book is Fault Lines in a Rising Asia (Carnegie, 2016), and he is currently working on a book on North Korea’s political and military developments. Lee has conducted extensive interviews with major media groups such as CNN and the BBC and is a contributing columnist in the global opinions section of The Washington Post. He has also written a number of op-eds for The Wall Street Journal. Lee has lived in 10 countries including Korea, United States, Japan, Uganda, Germany, France, Indonesia, Republic of Congo, and Singapore.

Last Updated: May 27, 2020

Coronavirus and the Korean Peninsula

Paul Haenle, Zhao Tong & more from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
As nations confront the pandemic, rumors of Kim Jong-un’s death and a flurry of North Korean missile tests injected even more uncertainty in the international landscape. How do views in Washington, Seoul, and Beijing differ or align on North Korea?...