Ji-Young Lee

Photo of Ji-Young Lee
Korea Policy Chair; Senior Political Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in international relations, Georgetown University; M.A. in political science, Seoul National University; M.A. in security studies, Georgetown University

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Ji-Young Lee joined the RAND Corporation on September 3, 2019 as the inaugural holder of the Korea Policy Chair. Trained as a political scientist working in the field of international relations, she studies the Korean Peninsula and East Asia's security and prosperity at the intersection of history, area studies, and security studies. Lee is the author of "China's Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination" (Columbia University Press, 2016). Her current book project, "The Great Power Next Door" (under contract with Columbia University Press), is a historically informed analysis of when and how China has chosen to militarily intervene in the Korean Peninsula. Her primary research topics include the U.S. alliance system in East Asia, North Korea, China's strategy toward the Korean Peninsula and Asia, South Korean foreign policy, and the future of international order. Coming to RAND as a tenured associate professor of international relations at American University, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Politics and East Asian Studies at Oberlin College, where she also taught as a visiting assistant professor. She has previously served as a POSCO Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center, a non-resident James Kelly Korean Studies Fellow with the Pacific Forum Center for Strategic and International Studies, an East Asia Institute Fellow, and a Korea Foundation-Mansfield Foundation scholar of the U.S.-Korea Scholar-Policymaker Nexus program. She earned her Ph.D. in international relations from Georgetown University.

Selected Publications

Ji-Young Lee, China’s Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination , Columbia University Press, 2016

Ji-Young Lee, "Hegemonic Authority and Domestic Legitimation: Japan and Korea under Chinese Hegemonic Order in Early Modern East Asia," Security Studies, 25(2), 2016

Ji-Young Lee, "Contested American Hegemony and Regional Order in Postwar Asia: The Case of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization," International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 19(2), 2019

Ji-Young Lee, "Diplomatic Ritual as a Power Resource: The Politics of Asymmetry in Early Modern Chinese-Korean Relations," Journal of East Asian Studies, 13(2), 2013

Ji-Young Lee and Jaehyun Lee, "Everyday Politics of “Dokdo” and South Korean National Identity: An Analysis of Education, Media, and Civil Society," The Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law, 7(1), 2019

Ji-Young Lee and Mintaro Oba, "Japan-Korea Relations: Cold Economics and Cold Politics," Comparative Connections, 21(2), 2019

Ji-Young Lee and Mintaro Oba, "Japan-Korea Relations: Hitting an All-Time Low ," Comparative Connections, 21(1), 2019