Tensions that run deep, particularly in South Korea due to past historical animosities related to Japan’s colonisation of Korea, do not disappear overnight, and we’re likely to continue to see diplomatic spats arise, as was the case a couple of weeks ago when the Japanese ministry of defence claimed Dokdo (Takeshima islands) as its own in its national security strategy.
Andrew Yeo is a senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair at the Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies. He is also a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
In addition to his most recent book, “State, Society, and Markets in North Korea” (Cambridge University Press 2021), he is the author or co-editor of four other books: “Asia’s Regional Architecture: Alliances and Institutions in the Pacific Century” (Stanford University Press, 2019); “North Korean Human Rights: Activists and Networks” (Cambridge University Press 2018); “Activists, Alliances, and Anti-U.S. Base Protests” (Cambridge University Press 2011); and “Living in an Age of Mistrust: An Interdisciplinary Study of Declining Trust in Contemporary Society and Politics and How to Get it Back” (Routledge Press 2017).
Yeo is currently working on a project that examines South Korea’s role in the Indo-Pacific region and how South Korea can support a rules-based order outside its traditional focus on Northeast Asia. He is also conducting research that examines marketization in North Korea and its impact on state-society relations. His research also covers the Indo-Pacific strategies of the United States and its allies, Asia’s regional architecture and institutional change, U.S. grand strategy and force posture, and the role of narratives and discourse in international relations. As a scholar working at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics, he also has an interest in studying civil society, social and transnational movements, and democratization.
As part of the Bridging the Gap network, Yeo is a firm believer in connecting academic theory with policy relevant research. As an expert on East Asia, U.S.-South Korea relations, and North Korea, Yeo has written reports, given talks, participated in conferences and roundtable discussions, and collaborated on projects with several research and academic institutions in the United States and in Asia. Yeo’s scholarly publications can be found in International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Strategy, Journal of East Asian Studies, and International Relations of the Asia-Pacific among others. His other writings have appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, The Diplomat, and 38 North and offered commentary in a variety of media outlets including CNN, NBC, MSNBC, Channel News Asia, Arirang TV, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, South China Morning Post, Al Jazeera, Japan Times, Korea Times, Chosun Ilbo, Hankyoreh, Kyunghyang Shinmun, and Joongang Ilbo.
Yeo is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the National Committee on North Korea. He was awarded the Young Faculty Scholar’s Award from Catholic University in 2013. He is part of the first cohort of the Mansfield-Luce Asia Scholars Network (2020-2021) and the first cohort of the Korea Foundation-Mansfield Foundation Scholar-Policy Nexus (2013-14). He is a two-time recipient of a U.S. Fulbright scholar award conducting research as a senior scholar in the Philippines in 2020, and as a graduate student in South Korea in 2005-06. Yeo received his doctorate in government from Cornell University, and bachelor’s in psychology and international studies magna cum laude from Northwestern University.
American Political Science Association (APSA), member
APSA International History and Politics section, treasurer and secretary
Association of Korean Political Studies, member
Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs, editorial board member
International Studies Association (ISA), member
International Journal of Korean Unification Studies, advisory board member
ISA International Security Studies Section, governing council member
Korean-American Student Conference, national advisory committee
National Committee for North Korea, member
Security Studies, editorial board member
Areas of Expertise
- Alliance politics
- Asian security
- Civil society
- Indo-Pacific strategy
- Overseas basing strategy
- Social and transnational movements
- South Korean foreign policy
- Professor of Politics, The Catholic University of America
- Director, Asian Studies Program, The Catholic University of America
- Senior Fellow, The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation (2020-2021)
- Fulbright Visiting Research Fellow, University of the Philippines, Diliman (2020)
- Assistant and Associate Professor of Politics, The Catholic University of America (2008-2020)
- Visiting Professor, International Summer Institute, Seoul National University (2018)
- Ph.D., Cornell University, 2008
- M.A., Cornell University, 2005
- B.A., Northwestern University, 2000
[South Korea’s] involvement is less about [the Pacific islands] ‘mattering’ to South Korea, and more about [Seoul] providing public goods in the Indo-Pacific region where it can play an early and significant role in addressing issues like climate change and development assistance.
South Korea must still move cautiously between the two great power rivals given Seoul’s larger economic and geopolitical stakes in China relative to other U.S. allies.
The U.S. is trying to outcompete China, and that requires coordination with allies.
It [improving Tokyo-Seoul ties] fits the Biden administration’s desire to advance integrated deterrence—the idea that the U.S. and its allies will use all tools and means to deter aggression across different theaters of conflict.
On April 18, Andrew Yeo joined the Wilson Center for the discussion, “70 years of the US-ROK Alliance: The Past and the Future.”
On April 4, Andrew Yeo joined the Center for New American Security for the discussion, “Peninsula Plus: Enhancing U.S.-South Korea Cooperation.”
They’re [Russia and North Korea] leaning on each other because they have no one else to turn to.
If South Korea is going to put itself on a limb to provide military aid for Ukraine, there could be a tipping point where China and South Korea relations really sour.