01 December 2017

 Harry KimHarry Kim Brumley Fellow, MGPS candidate at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, is a Brumley NextGen Graduate Fellow with the Strauss Center. Each Fellow researches a   topic of their choosing for a project developed over the academic year, guided in their work by a faculty mentor. Harry is paired with LBJ School Associate Professor Dr. Joshua Eisenman, and goes into detail on his research project for us here:

Harry: "My research examines China's potential role in global nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation debates. China's continuous relationship with North Korea led anti-nuclear weapon advocates to doubt Beijing's commitment to global disarmament and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. This is the exact problem I attempt to solve. Is China really dedicated to preventing a spread of nuclear weapons to other countries? Is China willing to disarm its nuclear arsenal if other countries follow through? If yes, what role can China play in achieving those goals?

I hope that my research can encourage students, policymakers and the public to take nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation issues more seriously. In recent years, individuals have begun to think about the possibility of a nuclear threat because of North Korea. Unfortunately, North Korea is only the tip of the iceberg as arming oneself with nuclear weapons and proliferating materials and technologies is easier than ever before."

Strauss: What led to your interest in this topic?

HK: "This summer, I had the privilege of interning at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP). I came across a lot of declassified Communist government documents on nuclear proliferation issues during the Cold War, ranging from China's first nuclear test to South Africa's clandestine nuclear weapon program. However, China's development of nuclear weapons was particularly interesting. Contrary to other nuclear weapon states, China justified that atomic bombs were to promote peaceful goals. Since the first nuclear test, the country also pledged a nuclear weapon-free world as the ultimate goal of its nuclear strategy. Learning about China's unique position, I wanted to find out if China can play a more significant role in global nuclear disarmament and the nonproliferation debate."

SC: What challenges have you run into?

HK: "Lack of information. There is not a lot of information on People's Liberation Army's arsenal of nuclear weapons. Most resources of my research are from open source materials: declassified Chinese government documents, media, and research conducted by sinologists or nuclear nonproliferation experts."

SC: Are there any specifics instances where your faculty mentor has helped you?

HK: "Dr. Eisenman's mentorship goes beyond helping my research as a Brumley Fellow. His expertise and thorough knowledge of China provide me guidance in finding the right research resources and conducting this study."

SC: What do you predict doing with your research at the end of the academic year?

HK: "After completing my research, I hope to publish a series of op-eds on China's responsibility in global nuclear nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation debate. I also plan to continue studying this issue after I graduate from the LBJ School."

SC: Changing tack, can you tell us how your internship at Stratfor is going? What are you doing for them, and how do you think you and Stratfor are helping each other?

HK: My internship at Stratfor is going great. I am partnered with a Asia-Pacific analyst to collect open-source resources and analyze the North Korean threat to the region and China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. I'm providing Stratfor with my Korean language skill and my background in security issues of Asia-Pacific region, nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation debates. In return, Stratfor is sharpening my analysis skills. I took Professor Pope's Thinking, Writing, and Briefing course last semester and had a chance to 'practice' working as an intelligence analyst. An internship at Stratfor is my first opportunity to take an actual part in analyzing collected resources for consumers and put my LBJ School training into action.

SC: What are your plans after graduation from MGPS?

HK: Immediately after my graduation, I hope to pursue a career where I can advocate nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation in advocacy group, think tank or Capitol Hill.

SC: Thank you Harry for speaking with us!