SY Kim

Dr Seung-Young Kim

Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies

BA (Seoul National), M.I.A. (Columbia), PhD (The Fletcher Sch ool of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts)

Contact details
Email :
Tel: 0114 222 8444
Room: C20


SY Kim teaches and researches international history and politics of Korea and East Asia with emphasis on the 20th century. He joined the School of East Asian Studies from September 2011 and is in charge of external relations of Korean Studies. Before joining Sheffield, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen (2003-2011). He was also a teaching fellow at Harvard University on the Cold War international history (2000) and was an associate of the John M. Olin Institute of Strategic Studies at Harvard University (1998-2000). During 2008-10 academic years, he did research about the Anglo-Japanese-US relations over China in the 1930s at the University of Tokyo with a research grant from the JSPS (Japan Society for Promotion of Science). He also did research about the US-Japanese-Korean relations in the 1970s as a visiting research fellow at Keio University in Tokyo (2001-2). From 2005 until 2012 he worked as a research associate at the National Security Archive (Washington D.C.) with its research project on the US-Korean-Japanese relations from the Nixon to Clinton presidencies. Before pursuing his doctoral degree, SY Kim worked as the diplomatic correspondent and the UN correspondent for The Chosun Ilbo newspaper in South Korea. He is fluent in Japanese and French, and has an intermediate command of Mandarin Chinese. He is a native Korean speaker.


SY Kim has published on the history of US-Korean relations and international relations of Northeast Asia in the 20th century. He has combined multi-archival historical research with insights offered by the theories of international relations. He has also developed research interests on the interwar Japanese diplomacy and British policy towards the Far East in the 1930s. After publishing his book on American diplomacy toward Northeast Asia (2009), he has been preparing his second book project which examines major turning points of diplomacy in Northeast Asia in the 20th century.

Research Grants and Fellowship

  • 2008-10: Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship (at University of Tokyo), with a project on the Anlgo-Japanese-US Relations over China in the 1930s and Diplomatic Practice in East Asia (£50,000)
  • Summer 2006, 2008, 2011: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Summer Research Grant (£2,000 – 2,500)
  • Summer in 2011 and 2005: Visiting Fellowship (SSPK) at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, Seoul, South Korea
  • 2001- 2002: Japan-Korea Academic Exchange Fellowship (at Keio University, Faculty of Law and Politics) (US$ 50,000)
  • June 1996- June 1999: Seoul Press Foundation Fellowship for Doctoral Study, etc.
  • SY Kim also had various short-term research affiliations with Hokkaido University and Stockholm University, etc.

Research Supervision

Dr. Kim has supervised doctoral dissertations on the following subjects:

  • Past Supervision (At University of Aberdeen):
  • ‘America’s coercive diplomacy and North Korean response, 1968-1994’ (as main supervisor)
  • History and theories of US foreign policy, domestic sources of military strategy, territorial disputes, etc. (as joint-supervisor)
  • Current supervision at Sheffield: ‘South Korean culture in the global setting’, 'Anglo-Korean Relations in the Era of the Russo-Japanese War', 'Chinese Perception of Manchukuo'.

Dr. Kim welcomes applications to undertake postgraduate research in international history or international relations in the Asia-Pacific. He can supervise traditional international history or more theory-driven analysis of history, diplomacy, and foreign policy issues. His areas of research supervision are in broad terms:

  • International history and politics of Korea and East Asia.
  • US-East Asian relations; China Issue in Asia and World
  • Diplomatic negotiations in the Asia-Pacific, comparative foreign-security policy, inter-cultural relations, etc.


Dr. Kim is the organiser of following modules:

EAS103: History of Korea
EAS 242: International Relations in East Asia (20th century)
EAS 365: Two Koreas and their Neighbours

EAS6203 China and Korea in the Modern World

He also contributes to advanced Korean language modules. He has taught modules on diplomatic strategy, international history, and foreign policy analysis at the University of Aberdeen.

Teaching Philosophy

I have taught both international history and politics of Korea and Northeast Asia, by linking them with wider regional and global contexts. For instance, the origins of the Korean War (1950-53) or the current Six Party Talks over the North Korean nuclear issue cannot be understood unless we examine two Koreas’ domestic situations alongside the regional situation in East Asia and the global-level developments during the early Cold War and in the 21st century (the nuclear non-proliferation regime). For this purpose, I introduce the salient interactions among two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States in my courses. Before pursuing my academic career, I wrote about numerous diplomatic negotiations as a diplomatic correspondent and the U.N. correspondent for the leading newspaper (The Chosun Ilbo) in South Korea. I also spent three years in Japan and eleven years in the United States for my work and academic activities. Drawing on these experiences, I introduce inter-cultural perspective as well as policy-relevant discussions to the classroom. My courses also aim at sensitizing students about the importance of good judgement of statesmen within given domestic and international contexts. They also examine the sources of international cooperation and conflict in East Asia, by paying attention to political, cultural, and economic factors that operate as shaping forces behind international history and diplomacy.



American Diplomacy and Strategy toward Korea and Northeast Asia, 1882-1950 and After: Perception of Polarity and U.S. Commitment to a Periphery (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

Articles Published in Refereed Journals

"Miki Takeo's Initiative on the Korean Question and the US-Japanese Diplomacy, 1974-76," Journal of American-East Asian Relations, 20:4 (December 2013), pp. 377-405.

"Rise and Fall of the US Trusteeship Plan for Korea as Peace-maintenance Scheme, 1941-47" Diplomacy and Statecraft, 24:2 (June 2013). pp. 227-252.

“Japanese Diplomacy towards Korea in Multipolarity: History and Trend,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs (March 2007), pp. 159-178.

“Russso-Japanese Competition over Korean Buffer at the Beginning of the 20th Century and its Implications,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 16: 4 (December 2005), pp. 619-650.

“Security, Nationalism, and the Pursuit of Nuclear Weapons and Missiles: South Korean Case, 1970-1982,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, 12: 4 (December, 2001), pp. 53-80.

“American Elites’ Strategic Thinking Towards Korea: From Kennan to Brzezinski,” Diplomacy & Statecraft, 12:1 (London: Frank Cass, March, 2001), 185-212.

“To Go or Not to Go: South and North Korea’s Nuclear Decisions in Comparative Context,” Journal of East Asian Studies, 1:1 (Lynne Rienner, March, 2001), co-authored with Jacques Hymans and Henning Riecke, pp. 91-153.

Journal Article, published by invitation

“Managing the Korean Buffer: Great Power Competition over Korea, from the Late 19th Century until Today,” Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies, vol. 15 (2005), published in April 2006, pp. 1-17.

Book Chapters

“Balancing Security Interest and ‘Mission’ to Spread Democracy: American Diplomacy toward South Korea from 1969 until Today,” in Robert Wampler, ed., Trilateralism and Beyond: Great Power Politics and the Korean Security Dilemma During and After the Cold War (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, June 2012, pp.50-87).

“Other Factors than Economics to Reach NIChood,” in Scott W. Thompson and Wilfrido V. Villacorta ed., The Philippine Road to NIChood (Manila, Philippines: De La Salle University Press, 1996).

Book Review

Charles Armstrong, Tyranny of the Weak: North Korea and the World, 1950-1991 (Cornell University Press, 2013), Pacific Affairs, forthcoming, autumn 2014.

John Everard, Only Beautiful Please: A British Diplomat in North Korea (Asia Pacific Research Center, Stanford University, 2012), Political Quarterly, 85: 2 (June 2014)

Juergen Kleiner, Diplomatic Practice: Between Tradition and Innovation (World Scientific Publising, 2009), Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 5: 3 (September 2010)

In addition to English publications, SY Kim has published numerous articles and columns in The Chosun Ilbo, Monthly Chosun (Wolgan Chosun), and The Joongang Ilbo newspaper in South Korea.