Special Forum

For more than six decades, South Korea has coped with one of the most enduring geopolitical asymmetries in the world, namely, the South-North conundrum on the Korean Peninsula. Virtually every aspect of Seoul’s policies and strategies towards Pyongyang is governed by this fundamental quandary that has resulted oftentimes in contrasting and even conflicting approaches and attendant policy objectives. Even a cursory description of the Korean Peninsula illustrates the stark polarization that exists between the South and the North, such as two states that share a common national heritage but are separated by fundamentally different ideologies; the world’s only communist dynasty lying next to Asia’s most vibrant democracy; a failed, planned economy and one of the poorest in Asia that stands in stark contrast to the world’s twelfth and Asia’s fourth largest economy; and a system where the state reigns supreme versus a system where state contestation is more common than ever before.

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