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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.

Languages

  • English
  • French
  • Mandarin Chinese

In The News

2 Jul 2018
[Pyongyang is] trying to encourage China to lobby for the sanctions to be lifted and to provide financial help, trade and investment. China’s long-standing policy has been to encourage engagement and try to change North Korean behaviour through trade and development. So as long as North Korea refrains from provocations, we can expect this dialogue to continue. South China Morning Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
13 Jun 2018
I think Kim wanted to win the hearts [of people] and draw some sympathy for himself and his regime, as part of an effort to weaken resolve to maintain sanctions and pressure. South China Morning Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
25 May 2018
Kim is already trying to move closer to China, and further uncertainty about the U.S. will likely make him more willing to offer concessions to Beijing. If Kim refrains from further testing and demonstrates good behaviour, while blaming the U.S. for being unreasonable, he could encourage China, South Korea and Russia to lobby for loosening of sanctions, either formally, or through less rigorous implementation and enforcement. South China Morning Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
26 Feb 2018
[China's leader Xi Jinping could build on a centralised party-state system]. Whether that is good for the world depends on whether [he] makes the right decisions. South China Morning Post

Michael Kovrig

Senior Adviser, North East Asia
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

Latest Updates

Commentary / Asia

Trilateral North East Asia Summit Signals a Return to Cooperation

Facing uncertain times in U.S. policy and a pivot to diplomacy from North Korea, leaders of China, Japan and South Korea met in Tokyo on 9 May to downplay historical grievances and show their support for denuclearisation, trade and better relations. But underlying disputes could still resurface.

Also available in 简体中文
Op-Ed / Asia

How A Long-awaited Hotline Could Pave the Way For Calmer China-Japan Relations

Japan and China should use a new maritime and aerial communication mechanism to manage disputes with professionalism, dialogue and diplomacy.

Originally published in South China Morning Post

Also available in 简体中文
Op-Ed / Asia

Why China Should Help Solve Venezuela’s Deepening Crisis

Originally published in Asia Times

Also available in 简体中文
Commentary / Asia

China Moves Centre Stage in Korean Peninsula Peace Efforts

After weeks in which other actors have taken notable steps towards defusing fears of war over North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, a China-North Korea summit held 26-27 March in Beijing has reasserted China’s pivotal role in efforts to find a solution to the nuclear crisis.

Also available in 简体中文
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