Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

Breadcrumb Navigation

Park, Heejae

Heejae Park, M.A.

PhD Student in Russian and Asian Studies


Johns Hopkins University
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036

Doctoral Project

Normalization of Russia-North Korea relations in the 2000s

My research is guided by the following question: Why has the relationship between Russia and North Korea become normalized in the early 2000s despite the fact that Russia severed ties with North Korea and favored South Korea in 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union? I attempt to apply an international relations theory to shed light on this question. John Mearsheimer, in his recent work, argues that liberal hegemony, the foreign policy pursued by the United States since the Cold War ended, is doomed to fail as nationalism overwhelms liberalism. Building on his argument, I will explore how the U.S.-led liberal foreign policy in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union backfired. The U.S.’ efforts for democratization on Russia only provoked nationalism and Russia’s sovereign ideology. I argue that this anti-liberalism ideology in Russia beginning the late 1990s was the crucial factor for Russia to normalize the relations with North Korea, a country which is also deeply rooted in the anti-liberal ideology.

Curriculum Vitae

Heejae Park earned her M.A. from Georgetown University's Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, and B.A. in Russian and English linguistics from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea. Before joining the LMU and pursuing her doctoral project, she worked at several research institutes in Washington D.C., including the Woodrow Wilson Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Center for Advanced Defense Studies. She also lived, studied, and worked in Novosibirsk and Yakutsk in Russia. Her research interests include diplomatic history, international relations theory, security issues, relations between Russia (since the Soviet era) and the Northeast Asian states, especially North Korea. Starting in September 2019, Heejae will continue her PhD studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS.


  • Merit-based Graduate School Tuition Scholarships, Fall 2015 to Spring 2016 and Spring to Fall 2017, Georgetown University
  • Summer Communications Initiative and Summer funding for unpaid internship, Summer 2016, Georgetown University
  • Foreign Language Excellence Scholarship, 2nd Semester of 2014, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
  • Department Chief Scholarship, 1st Semester of 2012, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies



"Denuclearization through 'Peace:' Russia's Response to North Korea's Nuclear Tests" (Joint Workshop "GöBiMü" by East European History Chairs of the University of Göttingen, Bielefeld University and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, 17 November 2018).