Security and Political Trends in East Asia: Insights from an NCAFP Delegation Trip


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When: Dec 2 2019 - 12:00pm until Dec 2 2019 - 1:30pm
Where: 1819 L St NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036

Security and Political Trends in East Asia: Insights from an NCAFP Delegation Trip

An Indo-Pacific Foreign Policy and Defense Seminar featuring:

Ambassador (ret.) Susan M. Elliott (Opening Remarks)
President & CEO,
National Committee on American Foreign Policy

Ambassador (ret.) Raymond F. Burghardt
Pacific Century Institute

Ambassador (ret.) James P. Zumwalt
Chairman of the Board,
Japan America Society of Washington DC

Ms. Susan A. Thornton
Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center,
Yale Law School

Mr. Mark Tokola
Vice President,
Korea Economic Institute of America

Dr. Satu P. Limaye (Moderator)
Vice President, East-West Center &
Director, East West Center in Washington

Security and Political Trends in East Asia Insights from an NCAFP Delegation Trip from East-West Center on Vimeo.

In November 2019, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) sent a delegation of distinguished experts and practitioners to meet with government officials, scholars and experts across Northeast Asia. The group visited Beijing, Left to right: Ambassador Zumwalt, Ambassador Burghart, Ambassador Elliott, Ms. Thornton, Mr. Tokola and Dr. LimayeShanghai, Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul; and in each city held frank and authoritative discussions on regional dynamics and security issues including U.S.-China relations, cross-Taiwan Strait relations, North Korea, and the future of U.S. alliances.

Introduced by Ambassador Susan M. Elliott, President and CEO of the NCAFP, the panel featured delegation members Ambassador Raymond Burghardt, Ambassador James Zumwalt, Ms. Susan Thornton, and Mr. Mark Tokola

 For more images, please visit the album for this event on the East-West Center's Flickr page. 

Susan M. Elliott is President & CEO of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a position she assumed in August 2018. Ambassador Elliott is an accomplished diplomat who held a variety of leadership positions at the U.S. Department of State during her 27 year career as a Foreign Service officer. From 2015 to 2017, Ambassador Elliott served as the Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of the United States European Command. Ambassador Elliott was the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan from 2012 to 2015. Prior to her Ambassadorial appointment, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Ambassador Elliott worked in a variety of overseas and Washington-based assignments. Her previous overseas assignments include Moscow, Russia (twice); Belfast, Northern Ireland; Athens, Greece; and Lima, Peru. In Washington, Ambassador Elliott worked on the staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Earlier in her career she reported on conflicts in the countries of the former Soviet Union when she worked in the Office of the Coordinator for Regional Conflicts in the New Independent States.

Raymond F. Burghardt served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) from February 2006 to October 2016. Burghardt now serves on the board of several for-profit and non-profit organizations, including as president of the Pacific Century Institute, a Los Angeles-based foundation. Concurrently with his position as AIT Chairman, Burghardt served from 2005 until December 2012 as Director of Seminars at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Burghardt served for many years as one of the leading Asian specialists in the U.S. Foreign Service. He was Ambassador to Vietnam (2001-2004), Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassies in Manila (1993-96) and Seoul (1990-93) and Political Counselor in Beijing (1987-89). He was Director of the American Institute in Taiwan from 1999-2001. Prior to his arrival in Taipei, Burghardt was Consul General in Shanghai from 1997-99. In the mid-1970’s, Burghardt studied for one year in Taichung at the State Department’s Chinese Language School. Burghardt received a B.A. from Columbia College in 1967 and did graduate study at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He was born in New York City and raised in the New York metropolitan area.

James P. Zumwalt is the Chairman of the Board of the Japan America Society of Washington DC and also a non-resident Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA. From February 2017 to Augusta 2019 he was the Chief Executive Officer of Sasakawa USA. Ambassador Zumwalt was the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau from 2015 to January 2017. Previously, he was responsible for policy toward Japan and Korea as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia Affairs. When the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan in 2011, Ambassador Zumwalt was serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where he coordinated the United States’ support for the Japanese Government’s response to that crisis. Ambassador Zumwalt received a master’s degree in International Security Studies from the National War College in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and also in Japanese Language from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979. He speaks Japanese, French, and some Chinese.

Susan A. Thornton is Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and Senior Fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center; and incoming Project Director of the Forum on Asia-Pacific Security of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, effective January 2020. In 2018, she retired from the State Department after a 28-year diplomatic career focused primarily on East and Central Asia. In leadership roles in Washington, Thornton worked on China and Korea policy, including stabilizing relations with Taiwan, the U.S.-China Cyber Agreement, the Paris Climate Accord and led a successful negotiation in Pyongyang for monitoring of the Agreed Framework on denuclearization. In her 18 years of overseas postings in Central Asia, Russia, the Caucasus and China, Thornton’s leadership furthered U.S. interests and influence and maintained programs and mission morale in a host of difficult operating environments. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she was among the first State Department Fascell Fellows and served from 1989–90 at the U.S. Consulate in Leningrad. She was also a researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute from 1987–91. Thornton holds degrees from the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Bowdoin College. She speaks Russian, Mandarin Chinese and French, is a member of numerous professional associations and is on the Board of Trustees for the Eurasia Foundation.

Mark Tokola retired as a U.S. Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister-Counselor in September 2014 after a 38-year career with the U.S. Department of State. His last posting was as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the American Embassy in London. Previously he had served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassies in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and, Reykjavik, Iceland. Among his other postings were two tours at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at Embassy London, and Economic Counselor at U.S. Embassy The Hague. He also served as Director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO) in Baghdad from 2007-2008. Mr. Tokola received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on implementing the Dayton Peace Accords while serving as Political Counselor in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1997-1999. Mark Tokola holds a BA in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and an LL.M. in European Community Law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr. Tokola serves on the Board of Governors of DACOR: An Organization of Foreign Affairs Professionals, and on the Board of Trustees of the Bacon House Foundation. He is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar.

Satu Limaye is Vice President of the East-West Center and the Director of the East-West Center in Washington where he created and now directs the Asia Matters for America initiative and is the founding editor of the Asia Pacific Bulletin. He is also a Senior Advisor at CNA Corp (Center for Naval Analyses) and Senior Fellow on Asia History and Policy at the Foreign Policy Institute at Paul H. Nitze School of International Studies (SAIS). He is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from Oxford University (Magdalen College) where he was a George C. Marshall Scholar. Dr. Limaye publishes and presents on a range of Indo-Pacific issues. Recent publications include: Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh and Brahmaputra River Politics (with Nilanthi Samaranayake and Joel Wuthnow); Why ASEAN is Here to Stay and What that Means for the US; The United States-Japan Alliance and Southeast Asia: Meeting Regional Demands; and Weighted West: The Indian Navy’s New Maritime Strategy, Capabilities, and Diplomacy.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sarah Wang
Phone: 2023279755