David Straub was named associate director of the Korea Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) on July 1, 2008. Prior to that he was a 2007–08 Pantech Fellow at the Center. Straub is the author of the book, Anti-Americanism in Democratizing South Korea, published in 2015.
An educator and commentator on current Northeast Asian affairs, Straub retired in 2006 from his role as a U.S. Department of State senior foreign service officer after a 30-year career focused on Northeast Asian affairs. He worked over 12 years on Korean affairs, first arriving in Seoul in 1979.
Straub served as head of the political section at the U.S. embassy in Seoul from 1999 to 2002 during popular protests against the United States, and he played a key working-level role in the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear program as the State Department's Korea country desk director from 2002 to 2004. He also served eight years at the U.S. embassy in Japan. His final assignment was as the State Department's Japan country desk director from 2004 to 2006, when he was co-leader of the U.S. delegation to talks with Japan on the realignment of the U.S.-Japan alliance and of U.S. military bases in Japan.
After leaving the Department of State, Straub taught U.S.-Korean relations at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in the fall of 2006 and at the Graduate School of International Studies of Seoul National University in spring 2007. He has published a number of papers on U.S.-Korean relations. His foreign languages are Korean, Japanese, and German.
In The News
Twenty-four U.S. secondary school teachers gathered at Stanford to learn about Korea's history, culture and society at the Hana-Stanford Conference, co-sponsored by FSI’s Shorenstein APARC and SPICE. The conference – in its third year – aims to make Korean studies accessible to all grade levels.
In a March 22 interview with the Seoul Shinmun newspaper, KSP associate director David Straub discussed the U.S. role in bringing together South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Abe in a trilateral summit with President Obama to address the North Korea problem.
In this op-ed, Gi-Wook Shin and David Straub discuss North Korea’s puzzling execution of Jang Song-taek and the social, economic, and political problems facing Kim Jong Un’s regime. They suggest that Jang’s execution may be an attempt to consolidate power and to shore-up support within the country. Shin and Straub point out that the revelations made to justify the purge and execution also act to delegitimize the regime by sending confused signals to the international community, in particular to China and South Korea over their recent economic engagement. They propose that the U.S., South Korea, and China may be able to use this as an opportunity to influence Kim and convince him to relinquish North Korea’s nuclear stockpile, among other goals.