Framing the Future

U.S.-ROK Tech Cooperation to Achieve Net Zero

The United States and the Republic of Korea have a rich history of partnering on cutting-edge initiatives, from designing smart cities to incorporating nuclear power into each country’s net-zero future. Both nations have also made concerted efforts to promote climate action outside their borders, which are exemplified in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the South Korean New Southern Policy, to better incorporate shared climate change and energy security goals in developing Asian economies. As part of their domestic environmental strategies, the United States and the Republic of Korea both seek to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, which presents immense opportunities for further collaboration through research, investment, and knowledge sharing. This event on June 14, 2022, served as a launching platform for a comprehensive report by four experts analyzing U.S.-ROK technology cooperation in areas like nuclear power, smart cities, hydrogen, transportation, and policy environments for innovation.



Michael Wills, The National Bureau of Asian Research


Byungki Cheong, Green Technology Center

PANEL: Framing the Future: U.S.-ROK Tech Cooperation to Achieve Net-Zero

Clara Gillispie, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Kyungjin Boo, Seoul National University

Sangkeon Lee, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlement

June Park, Princeton University

James E. Platte, School of Advanced Military Studies


Tom Lutken, The National Bureau of Asian Research

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Byungki Cheong is the President of Green Technology Center Korea (GTC), a government-affiliated research institute under the Ministry of Science and ICT that fosters national green technology R&D policies and international cooperation on climate change. He also serves as a member of the presidential committee on carbon-neutrality by 2050. Prior to joining GTC, Dr. Cheong served as a director of Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)’s Research Planning & Coordination Division and Materials & Life Science Research Division. He holds BSc and MSc degrees from Seoul National University, and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Clara Gillispie is a Senior Advisor to NBR and serves as the official U.S. delegate to the Energy Research Institute Network. Ms. Gillispie is the author of numerous policy essays and reports, including “Charting a Course for the Future of U.S.–ROK Energy Cooperation (Wilson Center, 2022)” and “How Can South Korea Teach, Lead, and Help in Asia’s Quest for Smart Cities?” (2021). Ms. Gillispie is regularly called on to directly brief her research and analysis to U.S. and Asian government officials, senior industry representatives, and the media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR’s Marketplace.

Professor Kyungjin Boo teaches energy policy and economics at Seoul National University, guiding PhD and MA candidates in the International Energy Policy Program sponsored by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.
He worked for the Korea Energy Economic Institute for over 30 years, leading the development of national plans, such as on energy and renewable energy and hydrogen economy master plans. He has published energy-related books, papers, and articles. He earned his BS in Mining and Petroleum Engineering and MBA in International Business at Seoul National University. He did his PhD study in Public Economics and Policy at the University of Delaware.

Dr. Sangkeon Lee is the Director of Global Development Partnership Center at Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS). He is acting as Korean head of delegation at ISO/TC204 and Smart City Master Planner of Sejong city. During the last 33 years, Dr. Lee has explored widely in the fields of Intelligent Transport Systems and ICT; and his current research interests are ubiquitous traffic information standardization and globalization of smart city technology for developing countries, including Integrated Operation and Control Center (IOCC). He received his B.S. in Architectural Engineering and M.S. in Urban Planning from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. His Ph.D. was in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg,
U.S. where he studied ICT application to transportation sector.

Thomas Lutken is a project manager with the Energy and Environmental Affairs group at NBR. In this role, he helps manage NBR’s ongoing projects on environmental policy, sustainability, and energy security. Prior to joining NBR, Mr. Lutken worked as a researcher in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a Hydrologic Technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research interests include climate change, alternative energy, transportation, and electricity policy. Mr. Lutken earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Brown University in 2014 and a master’s degree in environmental economics and policy from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2019, where he researched the economic impacts of electricity quality in rural India.

Dr. June Park is a 2021-22 Fung Global Fellow of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. She is a political economist by training and works on trade, energy, and tech conflicts with a broader range of regional focuses not just on the U.S. and East Asia, but also Europe. Dr. Park earned her BA and MA in political science with a focus on international security from Korea University, and has held an internship at the UN Security Council Sanctions Subsidiary Organs Branch. She received her PhD in Political Science with a focus on international political economy from Boston University as a Fulbright Fellow and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

Dr. James E. Platte is an assistant professor with the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth. His research focuses on strategic deterrence, cybersecurity, US extended deterrence, energy security, and strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and his writings have been published in Comparative Strategy, Cyber Defense Review, Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, and Journal of Risk Research, among others. Previously, he was an assistant professor at the US Air Force Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies, and he has worked on nuclear security with the Department of Energy, Defense Intelligence Agency, and National Nuclear Security Administration. He also has held research fellowships with the National Bureau of Asian Research, East-West Center, Pacific Forum, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Harvard Kennedy School. He received his PhD in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Michael Wills is Executive Vice President at NBR. Prior to his current position at NBR, he was vice president of strategy and finance (from 2016 to 2017), vice president of research and operations (from 2008 to 2015), and director of the Strategic Asia and Southeast Asia Studies Programs (from 2000 to 2007). Before joining NBR, Mr. Wills worked at the Cambodia Development Resource Institute in Phnom Penh, and prior to that with Control Risks Group, an international political and security risk management firm, in London. He holds a BA (Honors) in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford.