Purpose: In the event of a crisis caused by North Korea s nuclear development, tasks of crisis management leadership to protect national interests and prevent the escalation of the crisis are critical issues in national security. This study theoretically analyzes and evaluates crisis management leadership of South Korean Lee Myung-bak government during North Korea’s second nuclear test in 2009 and Moon Jae-in government during North Korea’s sixth nuclear test in 2017. Based on this, it seeks to theoretically analyze and evaluate tasks of crisis management leadership shown by both governments, and to derive policy implications for successful cri-sis management leadership. Method: A case study method is conducted to analyze the security crisis cases triggered by the North Korean nuclear tests and to examine leadership tasks of crisis management of South Korean governments during the two nuclear tests. Arjen Boin and Paul ‘t Hart define crisis management leadership as strategic tasks that en-compass all activities related to the crisis management stages. In order to analyze tasks of crisis management leadership, this study utilizes and analyzes three factors suggested by Arjen Boin, Paul ‘t Hart, Eric Stern and Bengt Sundelius: sense making(crisis perception), decision making and coordinating, and mean making(crisis communication). Results: The Lee Myung-bak and Moon Jae-in governments recognized nuclear tests were serious provoca-tions threatening the security of the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and the international community. How-ever, there were no early warnings for the two nuclear tests. Immediately after the nuclear tests, both govern-ments promptly held the NSC meeting and employed political, diplomatic, and military countermeasures, while strengthening the ROK-U.S. combined defense posture. They provided prompt information on the crisis situa-tion to the public, and delivered a resolute statement to North Korea to convey South Korea’s resolution. Efforts were made to secure support for South Korea’s policy toward North Korea, focusing on the international com-munity including the U.S., Japan and the United Nations. Conclusion: In order to carry out successful leadership tasks of crisis management, crisis managers must ac-curately grasp the evolving nature of the crisis and the NSC must be established in advance as an institutional crisis management system for effective crisis decision-making, and the NSC must be actively operated. Moreo-ver, it is necessary to carry out active crisis communication activities to mobilize national power and draw sup-port from the people at the domestic level, and to strengthen support and cooperation from allies and the in-ternational community at the international level. In a crisis situation where the instability and vulnerability of the country increases, the multi-dimensional tasks of crisis management leadership should be carried out by mobilizing all capabilities at the diplomatic, security, military, and intelligence dimensions.
2. Crisis Management Leadership: Theoretical Review and Analytical Framework
3. North Korea’s Second Nuclear Test and the Lee Myung-bak Government’s Crisis Management Behavior
4. North Korea’s Sixth Nuclear Test and the Moon Jae-in Government’s Crisis Man-agement Behavior
5. The Analysis of South Korean Government’s Crisis Management Leadership