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Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia

Crisis Group Role

Michael Kovrig joined Crisis Group in February 2017.  As Senior Adviser for North East Asia he conducts research and provides analysis on foreign affairs and global security issues in North East Asia, particularly on China, Japan and the Korean peninsula.

Areas of Expertise

  • China
  • South China Sea
  • North East Asia Security
  • United Nations
  • Global Governance
  • Multilateral Diplomacy

Professional Background

Michael Kovrig has previously worked as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing, Hong Kong and at the UN in New York, as a communication specialist at UNDP and a China analyst at Rhodium Group. A Mandarin Chinese speaker, Michael has a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.


  • English
  • French
  • Mandarin Chinese

In The News

23 Jan 2018
A deal whereby Pyongyang freezes its most sensitive tests and Washington freezes some military exercises could help de-escalate the crisis and buy time for diplomacy. South China Morning Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
12 Dec 2017
[Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] sees there is a strategic opportunity of Donald Trump having taken America in a different direction and seeing that void, that has led him to ramp up that policy further. Bloomberg

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
1 Dec 2017
Beijing is probably worried that applying sanctions too strictly could destabilize North Korea and doesn't want to take that risk. CNBC

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
22 Sep 2017
China is implementing the sanctions [on North Korea] with unprecedented rigor and determination. But does that mean everything is being followed through completely? Not necessarily. The Washington Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
12 Sep 2017
China views its agreement with the new [UN] sanctions [against North Korea] as a favour to the U.S. and will now expect something in return. Financial Times

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
3 Sep 2017
China sees sanctions as punishment for bad behaviour rather than an effective means of achieving disarmament [of North Korea]. Financial Times

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Asia

The Future is Now for China’s Challenges and Xi Jinping’s Ambitions

China’s president has set out an era-shaping agenda along economic, security and institutional arcs.

Originally published in South China Morning Post

Commentary / Asia

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond. But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions.

Also available in 简体中文
Op-Ed / Asia

What Will China Do if the U.S. Attacks North Korea?

During a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump warned that if North Korea threatened the United States or its allies, he would “totally destroy” the nation. As tensions continue to rise between Washington and Pyongyang, is Beijing growing more or less likely to intervene in a conflict between the United States and North Korea? Senior Adviser for North East Asia Michael Kovrig shares his view with ChinaFile.

Originally published in ChinaFile