Korean unification and United States security alternatives in Northeast Asia
Hasell, Edward L.
Olsen, Edward A.
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The end of the Cold War has removed the external restraints placed on the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea that in the past have proved to be a barrier to unification of the two states on the Korean peninsula. An inter-Korea Cold War lingers on, frustrating both governments plans for unification of the peninsula. North and South Korea have made unification a major goal of their governments, and they will eventually succeed in unifying the Korean peninsula. Unification of the Korean peninsula removes the primary basis for a US military presence on the peninsula, that of deterring North Korea. Even in the post Cold War context, the Korean peninsula remains an area of strategic importance to the United States, and to Japan, China, and Russia. The United States has enduring political, economic, and security interests in Korea and Northeast Asia. The United States should expand its relations with North Korea which can now be done without damaging relations with South Korea. Unification of the Korean peninsula would reduce tension and the potential for instability, so the United states should work toward that goal. In the post Cold War, multipolar world of competing economic and political interests, a strong unified Korea as an ally would be an asset to the United States in Northeast Asia, particularly if relations between the US, Japan, and China suffer serious setbacks. It would still best serve the interests of the United States to maintain a military presence on the Korean peninsula in cooperation with the unified Korea government
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