Sunny Seong-Hyon Lee

All FSI People Visitors and Affiliates
Sunny pic big crop head

Sunny Seong-Hyon Lee, MA, PhD

  • 2013-14 Pantech Fellow in Korean Studies

Shorenstein APARC
Encina Hall E310
616 Serra Street
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6055

(650) 725-4237 (voice)
(650) 723-6530 (fax)


Sunny Seong-hyon Lee, a journalist based in Beijing, China, is the 2013-14 Pantech Fellow in Korean Studies at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Reseach Center.

Dr. Lee has lived in China for 11 years, including as chief correspondent and later as director of China Research Center of the Korea Times. He served as an internal reviewer of the North Korean reports by the International Crisis Group (ICG) on multiple occasions. A fluent Chinese speaker and writer, he is a frequent commentator on China-Korea relations as well as on North Korea in Chinese newspapers and on TV. He has also appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera, and the Chinese state CCTV.

Dr. Lee taught at Salzburg Global Seminar, gave lectures to members of Harvard Kennedy School, the Confucius Institute, Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Tsinghua University, Guo JI Guan Xi Xue Yuan, Korea Economic Institute, The Korea-China Future Forum, the Korea Journalists’ Association, and the Korea-China Leadership Program of the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies.

Dr. Lee will use his Pantech Fellowship at Stanford to write a book manuscript on the latest China-Korea relations, especially since the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. He will also engage Stanford audiences and members of the public through lectures and research meetings.

Dr. Lee received a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, a master’s degree from Harvard University and Beijing Foreign Studies University, and a PhD from Tsinghua University, where he completed his doctoral dissertation on North Korea, examining the media framing of North Korea by analyzing the journalist-source relationship. He is also a non-resident James A. Kelly Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS, and a 2013 Korea Foundation-Salzburg Fellow.

Dr. Lee’s recent writings include:

“Firm Warning, Light Consequences: China’s DPRK Policy Upholds Status Quo” (The Jamestown Foundation)

“Will China's soft-power strategy on South Korea succeed?” (CSIS)

“Chinese Perspective on North Korea and Korean Unification” (The Korea Economic Institute in Washington DC)

“China’s North Korean Foreign Policy Decoded”  (Yale Global Online)

“Why North Korea may muddle along” (Asia Times)


Established in 2004, the Pantech Fellowship for Mid-Career Professionals, generously funded by Pantech Co., Ltd., and Curitel Communications, Inc. (known as the Pantech Group), is intended to cultivate a diverse international community of scholars and professionals committed to and capable of grappling with challenges posed by developments in Korea.