Dr. Sungmin Cho joined the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) in August 2018. His area of research interests covers China-Korean Peninsula relations, North Korea’s nuclear program, Korean unification, and the US alliance in East Asia. Dr. Cho also closely follows the domestic politics of China, Taiwan, and North Korea.
Prior to arriving at DKI APCSS, Dr. Cho was a lecturer for the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown University from 2016 to 2018, where he taught on a range of subjects including the domestic politics of China and the politics of nuclear weapons in East Asia at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Cho has written on contingency planning for a possible collapse of North Korea, including a paper published in The International Journal of Korean Studies in 2015, and contributed a chapter on North Korea’s prison camps in The Soviet Gulag: Evidence, Interpretation, and Comparison in 2016. Previously, he also published several policy analysis and op-eds in Issues and Insights and The Diplomat.
For his dissertation research, Dr. Cho conducted two rounds of fieldwork in China in 2015-2016, supported by Georgetown University’s summer research funds and the Smith Richardson Foundation. Dr. Cho did archival works in Beijing and interviewed former Chinese officials and scholars to explore China’s strategic openness to Western democracy promotion programs. Previously, Dr. Cho did fieldwork in the Chaoxian Autonomous Region in Northeastern China while working on his master’s thesis on the Chinese perception of North Korea in 2008-2010. Dr. Cho also worked for the Beijing office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to support North Korean defectors under its protection in 2009.
Before starting his graduate studies, Dr. Cho served in the Republic of Korea Army for three years, which he completed at the rank of first lieutenant. As an interpretation officer of the Capital Corps of the ROK Army, Dr. Cho participated in the US-ROK joint exercises to defend the Seoul Metropolitan Area in 2005. Dr. Cho was later deployed to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan as part of the Multinational Forces in Iraq, Northeastern Division, in 2006. Returning from Iraq, Dr. Cho worked in the ROK Army Logistics Command in 2007-2008, where he was in charge of managing military sales from the United States to South Korea.
Dr. Cho was a proud member of Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program in 2009-2010. He worked at Pacific Forum for one year as a residential fellow under The James A. Kelly Korean Studies Program in 2011.
Dr. Cho received his PhD in Government from the Georgetown University, Master’s degree in International Relations from Peking University, and B.A. in Political Science from Korea University. He also spent a year as a visiting student at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Cho is an avid fan of movies and books. He traveled by bicycle from Beijing to Nanjing, China in the winter of 2009 and along the border between China and North Korea in the summer of 2010. A native Korean, Dr. Cho speaks Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese.