Searching for Legitimacy? The Motivations behind Inter-Korean Dialogue during the Mid-1980s

Stephen Ranger
Content Type
Journal Article
Revista UNISCI/UNISCI Journal
Publication Date
January 2020
Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
Throughout the history of inter-Korean relations, the process of engagement between 1984 and 1985 has been of little focus among studies. Yet it is worthy of close analysis as it occurred during a critical time when Cold War tensions were mounting with shifts in the balance of power between the Soviet Union and the United States as well as the upcoming Summer Olympics in Seoul. This article reveals the way in which the complex international environment shaped inter-Korean dialogue, particularly within the context of how each side was also seeking support from the Soviet Union. Crucially, it will show that inter-Korean dialogue formed an important source of legitimacy for the two Koreas, both domestically and internationally. This has ramifications for today where the two Koreas are seeking out contacts with one another within a regional order increasingly being shaped by China.
International Relations, Cold War, Nationalism
Political Geography
Asia, South Korea, North Korea