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  • Author: Seongho Sheen
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since its division following independence from Japanese colonialism in 1945, the reunification of the Korean peninsula has been the ultimate national mission for the Republic of South Korea (ROK). Unification became the most important redemptive mission for Koreans to recover the national pride and unity lost during Japanese colonialism. Yet, it also became a practical imperative to address the most serious national security threat posed by North Korean military aggression. Memories are still vivid of the Korean War which North Korea's Communist leader, Kim Il-sung, started in 1950 in an effort to unify Korea by force, and which killed almost four million Koreans on both sides (since the 1953 armistice, the two Koreas have remained technically at war). Additionally, unification is understood as a way to enhance Korea's geostrategic leverage over its big neighbours, China and Japan, which seem to have taken advantage of the division. In fact, the Chinese and Japanese views on Korean unification can be likened to the way former French President Mitterrand spoke of the prospects of German unification: they like Korea so much that they prefer to have two of them as their neighbours rather than just one. Koreans had every reason to believe that reunification was their national mission and in Korea's interests. Indeed, as much as the South Koreans feared military aggression from the North, they also wanted to achieve unification badly enough to risk war, causing the United States to keep a close eye on each South Korean government throughout the Cold War for any intent to launch a pre-emptive attack on North Korea.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Author: Anna Dall' Oca
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Strategic thinking about the Korean nuclear crisis, Gilbert Rozman, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007 ;Negotiating with the Hermit Kingdom, Christopher D. LaRoche, Centre for Foreign Policy Studies-Dalhousie University, 2008 ;North Korea on the brink, Glyn Ford with Soyoung Kwon, Pluto Press, 2008.
  • Political Geography: North Korea, Korea