One Korea?: Challenges and Prospects for Reunification

Monday, August 1, 1994

A distinguished panel of scholars from around the world convened at the Hoover Institution in June 1993 to assess prospects for a reunited Korea. North Korea's highly publicized stance of nuclear noncompliance, intiated only months earlier, gave the conference historical immediacy. It also underscored the potentially catastrophic consequences of continued ideological friction on the Korean peninsula. Scenarios for reunification identified at that conference are presented in this volume. The end of cold war tensions thrust much of the world into a new era. However, North Korea, clinging to a doomed communist ideology, threatened to preserve nuclear tension as it struggled to avoid economic ruin. Despite this ominous development , the reality of a reunified Germany gave hope that the Korean peninsula-divided since 1945-could be one again. Thomas H. Henriksen and Kyongsoo Lho organized the conference under the auspices of the Hoover Institution's Korean Studies Program. Although each scholar held a different view of reunification prospects and methodologies, all agreed that unification would be necessary to avert disaster. The lessons of recent history in East-Central Europe, (such as the avoidance of anarchy, the need for economic prosperity, cooperation on both sides) and even those of post-Civil War America, the experts observed, can be usefully applied to the reunification question. Whatever becomes of post-cold war Korea, there is agreement that it will not resemble the Korea of the present. How the issue of reunification will ultimately be resolved is likely to be found among the contributions to this volume.

Copyright 1994.