Robert Kelly

Expert on the political economy of East Asia

Speaker Themes

  • North Korea
  • Nuclear weapons
  • The political economy of East Asia
  • US foreign policy
  • The rise of China
  • Global trade wars
  • International financial institutions

Travels from

Busan, South Korea


Robert Kelly is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at the Pusan National University in South Korea.

He is an expert on security and political economy in East Asia and the Middle East, US foreign policy, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

His recent work has focused particularly on the US ‘pivot’ to Asia, and on Confucianism in the geopolitics of East Asia. He has developed a reputation as an expert analyst of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme (he has visited the country) and its relations with the east Asia region and US.

Robert has published in leading academic journals such as the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, and the International Studies Review. He has also written for popular outlets including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The New York Review of Books, The National Interest, and Newsweek.

He has appeared as an expert analyst on television news services including the CNN, CNBC and BBC. He rose to fame when a live interview he was conducting with the BBC was crashed by his young children and subsequently went viral. The video became known as the “BBC dad” interview.


Whether it be North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, America’s “pivot”, or the ever-increasing assertiveness of China and its relations with regional powers such as Japan and South Korea, East Asia is firmly on the international security agenda.

An analyst with a global reputation, Robert is expert at helping business leaders understand the region’s key dynamics, and what risks should be on their radar when making critical investment decisions.

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