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Reunified Korea's challenges and status

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Lho, Kyongsoo

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Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.11, pp. 31-46
The objective of this brief essay is to think about what a reunified Korea's internal
makeup and strategic disposition might be. For many Korea-watchers inured to the
seemingly endless North-South Korean duel, this may appear to be something of a
surreal exercise. This will be particularly true of those in the "gradualist" camp who
do not consider North Korea's collapse/transformation to be imminent. At best, they
will see essays such as this to be little more than idle speculation about something
that is not likely to materialize in the foreseeable future-- especially given North
Korea's apparent ability to withstand stunning strategic setbacks thus far.
But what if the North Korean regime, and the brittle, exhausted system which they
command (amidst growing signs of disorder), were to suddenly come apart? While
we may not be able to accurately predict how or when North Korea might cease to
be a going concern, so long as there exists the probability that Pyongyang could lose
its grip (and there clearly is), it would be the better part of wisdom to try to
anticipate and prepare as best we can for such an eventuality.
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