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Bush Institute Experts Testify on North Korean Threat
Victor Cha, a Fellow in Human Freedom, and Robert L. Gallucci, who served as a consultant to the Bush Institute, testified at a hearing entitled Countering the North Korean Threat: New Steps in U.S. Policy.
At a February 7 hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, two experts affiliated with the George W. Bush Institute were called to testify as witnesses. Victor Cha, a Fellow in Human Freedom, and Robert L. Gallucci, who served as a consultant to the Bush Institute, testified at a hearing entitled Countering the North Korean Threat: New Steps in U.S. Policy.
In his prepared testimony, Dr. Cha noted, “Presidencies are defined not by the agenda they have coming into office. Instead, the mettle of every president is tested by the unexpected crises that come their way, and in particular, how they respond to those challenges. For President George W. Bush, for example, the crisis was of course the terrorist attacks of September 11. For President Trump, the crisis could very well come from North Korea.”
Ambassador Gallucci noted that the North Korean situation has changed dramatically in recent years, stating, “North Koreans see only two ways to insure against U.S.-initiated regime change, nuclear weapons that threaten the U.S. homeland, or a political settlement with the United States that genuinely ends hostile relations between us and them.”
Dr. Cha also serves as senior adviser and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and served as Director for Asian Affairs at the White House under President George W. Bush. Ambassador Gallucci served in a variety of senior diplomatic posts, including as chief U.S. negotiator during the North Korean nuclear crisis of 1994. Both Dr. Cha and Ambassador Gallucci are on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
In November 2016, the pair co-authored a Bush Institute policy paper, Toward a New Policy and Strategy for North Korea. The paper calls for a new approach to North Korea, by integrating security issues with human rights and noting the connections between the two. Dr. Cha and Ambassador Gallucci wrote, “The national security threat posed by North Korea to the United States and its allies stems not just from the nuclear and missile threats, but from a government, in possession of such weapons, which is capable of a level of abuse of its own citizens unprecedented in modern human history.”
Beginning in 2014, the Human Freedom initiative at the George W. Bush Institute began a new focus on North Korea, convening unprecedented awareness-raising and consensus building meetings, commissioning original research, and breaking new ground in our understanding of one of the worst human tragedies of our time.
The result is a call to action for governments, the private sector, and civil society to work together to improve the human condition in North Korea. This includes advocating for a new U.S. policy that integrates the call for human freedom with denuclearization, and supporting North Korean escapees who are building new lives in freedom in the United States.
Q&A with North Korean escapee Peter Oh
Peter Oh is a 2019 North Korea Freedom Scholarship recipient who is pursuing his master’s degree in international policy and practice at George Washington University. He and his younger brother escaped North Korea in 2000 in search for food. He lived in China for three years before seeking asylum in South Korea with the help of Christian missionaries. He became a reporter for Radio Free Asia in Seoul and in 2010 was transferred to the Washington, D.C. office to report on North Korean issues.
Q&A with North Korean escapee Debby Kim
Debby Kim, a two-time North Korea Freedom Scholarship recipient, is a sophomore biochemistry major at Wheaton College in Illinois and an aspiring doctor. She escaped North Korea when she was 13 years old.
Q&A with North Korean escapee LK*
LK, a three-time North Korea Freedom Scholarship recipient, is an electrical and computer engineering student at a university in Illinois. A former member of the North Korean Army, LK remains anonymous to protect family members still living in North Korea.