Roundtable with Dr Jung Pak

On Thursday 8 February 2024, the Perth USAsia Centre was pleased to host Dr Jung Pak, US State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

North Korea has signalled a dramatic shift in its foreign policy in recent months: engaging in a weapons transfer agreement with Russia, closing a number of its embassies, and most alarmingly, announcing the removal of reunification with South Korea as a goal from its constitution. This, coupled with cruise missile and underwater attack drone tests, have put tensions on the peninsula – and indeed across the region at large – at an all-time high.

As the US Senior Official for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Dr Pak brought a breadth of knowledge on North Korean affairs and its wider impact on the Indo Pacific.

The enlightening discussion touched on the evolution of North Korea’s strategic outlook, and was joined by business, academic and government representatives.


Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Jung H. Pak is responsible within the US State Department for overseeing relations with Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. She also serves as the US Senior Official for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Prior to arriving at State, she was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she focused on Korean Peninsula issues, East Asia regional dynamics, and transnational threats related to proliferation, cybersecurity, and climate change.

While at Brookings, she authored Becoming Kim Jong Un, which has been translated into multiple languages and draws from her deep knowledge and experience as an intelligence officer.

Pak has held senior positions at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), receiving several awards for contributions to the President’s Daily Brief, superior analytic accomplishments, and service to advance workforce development.

As the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Korea at the National Intelligence Council, she led the Intelligence Community’s production of strategic analysis. Before her career in national security, Dr. Pak taught US history in New York City. She received her PhD from Columbia University and studied in South Korea as a Fulbright Scholar.

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