NCNK West Coast Members Meeting 2024

February 5, 2024

On January 29, the National Committee on North Korea was joined by more than 60 of our members and colleagues for our annual West Coast Members Meeting. A range of topics were discussed, including but not limited to DPRK-China relations, North Korean cybercrime, the current state of North Korea's economy and NCNK member activities. We were honored to be joined by many esteemed guests, including speakers from the U.S. Department of State, prominent think tanks, and top universities. We are deeply thankful to all who made the conference a success. 

About the Speakers

Seth Bailey became Director for the Office of Korean and Mongolian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in July 2023. His last assignment was in Honolulu as a visiting professor and Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the DoD-affiliated Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. From 2019-2022, Seth served as the Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at U.S. Embassy Beijing, where he led negotiations with the PRC. Seth has also served overseas assignments in South Korea, Sri Lanka, China, and Afghanistan. In Washington, Seth has served on the China Desk, in the Economic Bureau, the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and in the Bureau of Counterterrorism. Seth was an attorney before joining the State Department.

Rorry Daniels is the Managing Director of Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), where she leads and oversees strategy and operations for ASPI's projects on security, climate change and trade throughout Asia. She is also a Senior Fellow with ASPI's Center for China Analysis. She was previously with the National Committee on American Foreign Policy where she managed the organization's Track II and research portfolio on Asia security issues, with a particular focus on cross-Taiwan Strait relations, U.S.-China relations, and the North Korean nuclear program. Her most recent research project audited the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue to evaluate its process and outcomes. 

She regularly writes and provides analysis for major media outlets and newsletters on security issues in the U.S. and the Asia Pacific. She is a 2022 Mansfield-Luce scholar, a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the National Committee on North Korea, a Pacific Forum Young Leader, as well as a Korea Society Kim Koo Foundation Fellow (2015 cohort). She earned her M.S. in International Relations at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, where she focused her studies on East and South Asia. She is proficient in Mandarin and holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Emerson College.

James Elliott is a member of the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and has worked in the IT security field for over 20 years.  James has worked in roles involving computer network defense, incident response, forensics, and cyber threat intelligence for both private sector and Government organizations.  Over the past 12 years, James has focused his efforts on building cyber threat intelligence teams for the Department of Defense and private sector companies. James also spends time teaching analysts how to hunt and track nation state threat actor groups.

Prior to his retirement from the United Nations in 2023, Frode Mauring served for twelve years as Resident Coordinator in the DPRK, North Macedonia, Kosovo, the Russian Federation, and the United Arab Emirates. Mauring has also served as Special Representative of the UNDP Administrator for the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. Immediately before coming to DPRK, he was a senior adviser to the Director of the UN Development Coordination Office on UN reform issues.

Before joining the UN in 2002, Mr Mauring worked in the private sector for more than fifteen years in banking, international consulting and industry, in Africa, Middle East, Caribbean and Eastern Europe. Mr Mauring has a Master’s degree in International Management from the University of Denver as well as bachelor degrees in economics, business administration and social anthropology from Norwegian universities. He is a national of Norway.

Eric N. Richardson is founding President of the Geneva-based NGO INHR and Professor of International law at U Michigan and U California Berkeley Law Schools. As a diplomat and lawyer for the State Department until 2018, he served in and focused on China, North Korea, Libya, Tunisia, New Zealand, Israel, and the UN Human Rights Council. Today, he mediates between governments and hard-to-reach actors, focuses on existential risks of emerging technologies, and is a Senior Fellow responsible for China at PAX sapiens. Before joining the State Department, Eric first worked as a journalist and then sued the government over regulatory policy at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster.  He published his negotiations handbook, Getting More Back, in 2021. He holds a BA from Stanford University, an MA in Law and World Politics from U Michigan, and a Juris Doctorate from U Michigan Law School. Eric speaks Chinese, French & English.

Susan A. Thornton is a retired senior U.S. diplomat with almost three decades of experience with the U.S. State Department in Eurasia and East Asia. She is currently a Senior Fellow and Visiting Lecturer in Law at the Yale University Law School Paul Tsai China Center, Director of the Forum on Asia-Pacific Security at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Until July 2018, Thornton was Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State and led East Asia policy making amid crises with North Korea, escalating trade tensions with China, and a fast-changing international environment. In previous State Department roles, she worked on U.S. policy toward China, Korea and the former Soviet Union and served in leadership positions at U.S. embassies in Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus and China.

Thornton received her MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS and her BA from Bowdoin College in Economics and Russian. She serves on several non-profit boards and speaks Mandarin and Russian.

Alexander Vorontsov is currently the head of the Department for Korean and Mongolian Studies and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russia Academy of Sciences and the MGIMO-University Associate Professor. He also holds several teaching and research posts at the Lomonosov Moscow State University, as Russian Federation Military Science Academy Professor, the Institute for Asian Studies at Osaka University of Economy and Law in Japan visiting professor. He is the member of the Russian part of the Russia-DPRK Intergovernmental Commission dealing with trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation. He was visiting professor at the Hanguk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea from 1998 to 2000; at the Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan in 2009; member of faculty of Yonsei University International Summer School in Seoul in 2010; and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies in Washington, DC from 2005 to 2006. He graduated from the Asia Pacific-Center for Security Studies Executive Courses in Honolulu in 2005 and served as second secretary in the Russian Federation’s Embassy in Pyongyang from 2000 to 2002. Vorontsov holds a Ph.D. in history from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the USSR Academy of Sciences, and has studied at Lomonosov Moscow State University and Pyongyang Kim Il Sung University.

Peter Ward is a writer and researcher focusing on the North Korean economy and Korean migration issues. He is a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna and a contributor to NK Pro. His PhD dissertation concerns North Korea’s military, its role in the North Korean economy, and the impact that this role has on civil-military relations. His work has been published at Asian PerspectiveCities, Communist and Post-Communist StudiesInternational MigrationJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Journal of East Asian Studies.