All eyes will be on President Trump as he heads to Asia next week, with seething tensions over North Korea topping his diplomatic agenda. Global Fellow Jean H. Lee says that while Pyongyang’s neighbors are accustomed to anxiety about the nuclear threat, the temperature – and the stakes – are only continuing to rise: “It’s not the first time that we’ve had this fever. That said, we need this fever to subside.” Differences between the U.S. president and his South Korean counterpart, the Kim regime’s strategy, and China’s current calculations are also discussed in the latest edition of Wilson Center NOW.


Jean H. Lee, a veteran foreign correspondent and expert on North Korea, is a global fellow with the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy and the North Korea International Documentation Project at the Wilson Center. She is also a contributor for CNN. Lee led the Associated Press news agency’s coverage of the Korean Peninsula as bureau chief from 2008 to 2013. In 2011, she became the first American reporter granted extensive access on the ground in North Korea and in January 2012, opened AP’s Pyongyang bureau, the only Western text/photo news bureau based in the North Korean capital. She has made dozens of extended reporting trips to North Korea, visiting farms, factories, schools, military academies, and homes in the course of her exclusive reporting. During Lee's tenure, AP’s coverage of Kim Jong-Il’s death earned an honorable mention in the deadline reporting category of the 2012 Associated Press Media Editors award for journalism in the United States and Canada. Lee also won an Online Journalism Award in 2013 for her role in using photography, video, and social media in North Korea and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for feature reporting in 2013.

John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming. Previously he served as host and producer of Dialogue at the Wilson Center and Close Up on C-SPAN. He also teaches a course on politics and media for Penn State’s Washington Program.