S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) Theses (Ph.D. / Sc.D._국제학과)
Making the Cold War Their Own: Inter-Korean Relations, 1971-1976
한반도 냉전의 내재화: 남북한 관계 1971-1976
- Ria Chae
- 국제대학원 국제학과
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제대학원
- 학위논문 (박사)-- 서울대학교 국제대학원 : 국제학과, 2015. 8. 박태균.
- The main goals of this dissertation are to find the origins of the Cold War between North and South Korea and to explain the reasons why the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula did not finish with the end of the global Cold War in the early 1990s.
The dissertation focuses on the period of the 1970s, which was the time of the first peaceful negotiations between the two Koreas but also the time of one of the worst security crises since the Korean War. Using declassified diplomatic and policy documents from the archives of South Korea, the United States, and countries of the former socialist bloc
memoirs of witnesses
and oral history records
the dissertation reconstructs the events of the early to mid-1970s as a dynamic interaction between the two Korean governments, the United States, and China. The analysis demonstrates that fundamental changes took place in the inter-Korean relationship during the period of 1971 to 1976. Through this transformation, the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula became qualitatively different: it was internalized by the two regimes and thereby obtained a life of its own.
The global Cold War was centered on the conflict between two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The defining features of that conflict included political, economic, and propaganda rivalry
absence of a direct military conflict but an arms race in conventional and nuclear weapons
and alternating periods of increased hostility and relaxation of tensions.
Through the period from liberation to the late 1960s, Korea was firmly embedded in the global Cold War system. Nevertheless, the behavior of the two Koreas during that period was different from the pattern of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. An ideological conflict and propaganda rivalry existed but the political, economic, and diplomatic rivalry did not appear?and even that only in incipient forms and indirectly?until the 1960s. There was no communication between the two Koreas, nor was there room for a detente. While implementing their projects of nation-building and policies of containment in Korea before and after the Korean War, the great powers also had to make constant efforts to keep the Korean conflict cold by curbing their respective proteges from opening hostilities against each other. In other words, until the late 1960s, the Cold War in Korea was imposed and instigated by the great powers.
In contrast, during the period of 1971 to 1976, the relationship between the two Koreas acquired the characteristics of the Cold War between the superpowers. Seoul and Pyongyang de facto recognized each others existence and established contact for the first time. At the same time, the two engaged in a direct, economic, and political competition without being incited to do so by their patrons. The competition for diplomatic recognition, and propaganda rivalry between South and North Korea?particularly at the United Nations?reached a scale not seen in any other period and the inter-Korean arms race also surpassed in its intensity any other time since Korean War. The Axe Murders incident brought the two Korean regimes to the brink of an all-out war but the two opted out of a head-on collision. Through this process, the Cold War was institutionalized in Korea, as reflected in the continuous cycles of short rapprochement and long confrontation repeated thereafter. That is the reason why the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula was able to persist despite the end of the Cold War between the great powers.