Germany’s Lessons for Korea: The Strategic Diplomacy of Unification

GlobalAsia- Winter 2016

Author/s (editor/s):

Jochen Prantl, Hyun-Wook Kim

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Publication type:

Journal article

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GlobalAsia- Germany's Lessons for Korea: The Strategic Diplomacy of Unification

Jochen Prantl (APCD) and Kim Hyun-Wook (Korean National Diplomatic Academy) compare notes from Germany and Korea by looking at entry, tipping and endpoints of strategic diplomacy on unification. They argue that political integration is the key endpoint (and challenge) that will define the strategic diplomacy of Korean unification. German unification in 1990 appeared when the Cold War disappeared. Unlike Bismarck’s unification of 1871, which created a new German Reich after waging war against France, this tectonic change occurred without major bloodshed. Unlike at the Versailles conference of 1919, the political map of Cold War Europe was redrawn with the active support and consent of major powers. There was a political settlement to which all stakeholders could agree. This was the result of longer-term post-1945 developments that had created an international environment conducive but in no way predetermined to achieve unification. By contrast, in the case of Korean unification, the US, China, South Korea and North Korea all have different strategic goals and interests. How might strategic diplomacy affect the process and practices of Korean unification?

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