Soo W. Kim

Policy Analyst
Washington Office

Education

M.A. in international relations, Johns Hopkins University; B.A. in French, Yale University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Overview

Soo Kim is a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. Her areas of specialization include North and South Korea, Southeast Asia, Russia, decisionmaking, propaganda, the intelligence community, and homeland security. She served as an analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and recently at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

A native Korean speaker, Kim has written articles for The Hill, National Review, The National Interest, CIA's Studies in Intelligence, The Diplomat, and other publications. In 2015, she authored the monograph, Proliferation Fallout from the Iran Deal: The South Korean Case Study (2015). Kim is frequently cited and interviewed as a Korea specialist in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, CNN, PBS, Bloomberg, Voice of America, BBC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Handelsblatt, Donga Ilbo, and other international outlets.

Kim earned a B.A. in French from Yale University and an M.A. in international relations/strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). 

Languages

Korean; French; Russian; Japanese

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Arirang News, Korea; BBC News; Bloomberg Radio; Bloomberg Television; CNA; China Global Television Network; CNN International Online; CNN, The Situation Room; FOX Business Network Online; KBS Radio; Korea Times Washington DC Edition; NBC Nightly News; Newsy; Radio Free Asia; The Red Line; tbs eFM 101.3MHz - Seoul, S. Korea; Voice of America

Commentary

  • South Korean soldiers hold flags of countries that fought in the Korean War at a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the war, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Cheorwon, South Korea, June 25, 2020, photo by Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

    Is North Korea Prepared to End the Korean War?

    The end of the Korean War and peace on the peninsula are no more likely to occur as the result of a peace agreement than has North Korean denuclearization occurred as the result of multiple denuclearization agreements. Ultimately, North Korean objectives matter, and real peace does not appear to be part of those objectives.

    Jun 29, 2020 The National Interest

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presides over a meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Military Commission, May 24, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    For the U.S., South Korea, and Japan, It’s the North Korean Regime, Not Kim Jong Un Per Se, That Is the Threat

    Would Kim Jong Un's death improve U.S., South Korean, and Japanese security? Maybe not. North Korea's advancing nuclear and other military capabilities are driving an expanded set of problems, and while Kim's sudden death might constitute a destabilizing factor for the regime, the available evidence suggests the regime itself is the problem.

    Jun 8, 2020 RealClearDefense

  • Kim Jong Un attends the completion of a fertilizer plant with his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, in a region north of Pyongyang, May 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    North Korea Post–Kim Jong Un Reappearance: Expect Business as Usual in the Hermit Kingdom

    Kim Jong Un's return, while it leaves much to be desired in the way of explanation, should send one message to the international audience: North Korea's fate rests still in the hands of Kim Jong Un. And judging by appearances in recent days, Kim does not appear to intend to change the course of his strategy to reduce tensions with the United States.

    May 19, 2020 The National Interest

  • North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at a railway station in Dong Dang, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019, photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

    North Korea After Kim Jong Un: 'How' Matters More Than 'Who'

    With rumors swirling that Kim Jong Un has suffered a health crisis, some are already asking who might succeed him as leader of North Korea. But who is not the most important question. What will matter more is what the new regime does to establish its legitimacy and how the United States and its allies respond.

    Apr 28, 2020 Nikkei Asian Review

  • Kim Jong Un speaks during the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in this undated photo released on December 29, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Why We Really Don't Know What Happens If Kim Jong Un Dies

    The potential changes in the North Korean regime pose more questions than they answer. How prepared are observers and keen watchers from the “outside world” for a North Korean contingency? Should there be a power vacuum in Pyongyang, will U.S. policy toward the DPRK remain largely as-is?

    Apr 27, 2020 The National Interest

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, North Korea, image released by Korean Central News Agency on March 2, 2020

    The Coronavirus and North Korea: Is There a Cure for Kim's Nuclear Blackmail?

    Despite the pandemic, North Korea's recent activities suggest that Kim Jong Un will likely stay the course in his ongoing campaign against the United States and the broader Northeast Asia region.

    Apr 13, 2020 The National Interest

  • South Korea and U.S. Special Forces during a joint military exercise in Gangwon province, South Korea, November 7, 2019, photo by Capt. David J. Murphy/U.S. Air Force/Reuters

    U.S.–South Korea OPCON Transition: The Element of Timing

    As Washington and Seoul continue to examine the feasibility and conditions for wartime operational control transition, decisionmakers will likely face political pressure on timing. It may well be to the advantage of both allies that the determination of the transfer be driven by a hard, thorough diagnosis of military capabilities against emerging threats.

    Apr 2, 2020 Council on Foreign Relations

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees a super-large multiple launch rocket system test in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    North Korea Holds Most of the Cards in Nuclear Negotiations with U.S.

    North Korea has been reminding the United States that the window to negotiate a nuclear deal is closing. Pyongyang will likely continue trying to force Washington's hand into a deal that allows North Korea to keep its weapons while still reaping economic and political concessions.

    Dec 20, 2019 Nikkei

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    U.S. Economic War on China Weakens Nuclear North Korea, Too

    An effective way to bend North Korea toward denuclearization may be exerting consistent and targeted pressure on China. Diminishing Beijing's relevance isn't a cure-all. But it could pierce Kim's illusion of invincibility and place him in a bind to make some concessions.

    Oct 18, 2019 Nikkei Asian Review

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervises a strike drill during a military drill in North Korea, May 4, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    One Year After Singapore: The North Korea Problem Is Bigger Than Nukes

    After two summits between the United States and North Korea, and little to show in the way of deliverables on dismantlement, hopes that a third summit may yield a denuclearization deal seem a bit unrealistic. Essentially, there has been no indication of intent on Kim's part to denuclearize. But the North Korea problem is much greater than nukes.

    Jun 17, 2019 The Hill

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