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One Korea : Visions of Korean Unification (Hardcover) (Tae-Hwan Kwak)
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Seventy years have passed since the Korean Peninsula was divided by the United States and the Soviet Union into two occupation zones along the 38th parallel. On the Korean Peninsula, there now exists two sovereign states - the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) - both of whom hold a separate membership at the United Nations. The two Korean states have incompatible social-economic-political systems. In June 1950, the North attempted to unify with the South by force without success. In the early 1970s, the two Korean states attempted to unify by peaceful means but the dialogue soon stalled. The DPRK is now armed with nuclear weapons and poses a grave threat to peace and security in Korea and Northeast Asia. The prospects for a peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula appear even more bleak and remote than ever. Korean unification is intrinsically international in nature. Its process and outcome will be affected by the policies of Northeast Asian powers - the US, China, Russia, and Japan. Furthermore, a unified Korea will have far-reaching repercussions on the political and economic dynamics of Northeast Asia. A unified Korea will emerge sooner or later. At this crucial juncture in time, we need to take a close look at the Korean question, particularly Korean unification, and the intrinsically related issue of peace-building in Northeast Asia. This volume focuses on the Korean unification issue from the perspectives of the two Koreas and the four major powers.