Prospects for Peace on the Korean Peninsula: U.S. and China

On October 16th, United States Institute of Peace Director for China Programs, Jennifer Staats and former Deputy Commander, US Forces Korea, Lt. General (Ret.) Jan-Marc Jouas discussed options to address the North Korean crisis and ideas for potential areas of cooperation or coordination between the U.S. and China. The discussion was  moderated by Susan Lawrence, a Specialist in Asian Affairs with the Congressional Research Service.

This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.

The briefing focused on strategic and tactical constraints to potential military solutions, President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, and China’s approach to foreign policy with North Korea. Speakers offered views on the danger North Korea poses to the 25 million residents of Seoul, the status of China’s diplomatic relationship with North Korea, and potential methods of increasing the pressure on the Kim regime without provoking conflict.

Since Kim Jong Un became the leader of North Korea in 2011, the number of nuclear and ballistic missile tests have increased dramatically. The U.S. and China agree on the importance of a peaceful solution to the crisis, yet the two countries have different interests, priorities, and strategies for resolving the conflict. Pyongyang’s unwavering motivation to create long-range, nuclear tipped ballistic missiles that can reach the U.S. mainland has catapulted the Korean Peninsula to the top of the U.S. foreign policy priority list. China is also concerned about these developments, but is more worried about instability on the peninsula than the direct threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs. Panelists discussed the interplay of China’s plan to boost economic growth at the province level by promoting international trade, and the Chinese Communist Party’s increasingly unfavorable relationship with the Kim Regime.  Recommendations were provided for improving the current US strategy for North Korea, and for further engagement with the international community as well.

Jennifer Staats


Jennifer StaatsJennifer Staats is the director for China Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she focuses on China’s role with regard to peace and conflict dynamics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Dr. Staats joins USIP from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where she concentrated on policy issues related to Asian security, as well as cybersecurity, from 2009-2016. In the Strategy Office, she led the teams that coordinated the Department of Defense’s implementation of the U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, developed long-term strategy for the Department and assessed future security trends, with a particular focus on Asia. Before that, she managed the Asian and Pacific Security Affairs portfolio in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Most recently, she served as director for Cybersecurity and National Cyber Partnerships, where she worked closely with the White House, other U.S. government agencies and private sector companies to develop innovative policy solutions to improve the nation’s cybersecurity. Staats received several awards for her work at DoD, including the Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.

Before entering government service, Staats was a fellow with the International Security Program at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a research assistant with the Preventive Defense Project chaired by Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry. She also spent time as an economic analyst at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and as a researcher at Tsinghua University’s Institute of International Studies.

Staats received her PhD from Harvard University, her MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and her BA from the University of the South (Sewanee). Named a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member, Fulbright Scholar, NSEP Boren Fellow, Javits Fellow and NCAA Postgraduate Scholar, Staats speaks Mandarin Chinese and German.

Lt. General (Ret.) Jan-Marc Jouas

Lt. General Jan-Marc JouasLieutenant General Jan-Marc Jouas graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1979 with a BS in International Affairs; received a Master’s in Education from Chapman College in 1984; was a Fellow at the Harvard Center for International Affairs from 1997-98 and a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 2002.

He is a command pilot with extensive operational experience in F-4, F-15, and   F-16 aircraft, including more than 80 combat missions. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels, and served as a Joint Staff division chief and special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

From January 2012 through December 2014 Lieutenant General Jouas was Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command Korea; Commander, Air Component Command, Republic of Korea/U.S. Combined Forces Command; and Commander, Seventh Air Force.  He retired on February 1st, 2015.  His full bio is available at



Susan Lawrence

Susan Lawrence

Susan V. Lawrence is a specialist in Asian Affairs at the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a division of the Library of Congress created to provide the US Congress with authoritative, non-partisan research and analysis. Her work focuses on US-China relations, Chinese domestic politics, Chinese foreign policy, and Mongolia. Lawrence joined CRS after a career spent largely in journalism. She worked as a staff reporter in Beijing and in Washington, DC for the Far Eastern Economic ReviewThe Wall Street Journal, and U.S. News & World Report. Lawrence lived in China for a cumulative 13 years, 11 as a Beijing-based reporter, and two as a student at Peking University during her undergraduate years. She holds an AB magna cum laude in East Asian Studies from Harvard College and an AM in Regional Studies – East Asia from Harvard University, and is a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker.