Forging a Path to Peace and Stability on the Korean Peninsula: Implications and Recommendation for U.S. Foreign Policy
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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A collapse of North Korea poses the single greatest threat to peace and stability in East Asia. A violent collapse, known as a hard landing would be a costly disaster. A more benign collapse, or soft landing, while less disruptive, requires a level of sustained North Korean economic growth and South Korean investment not possible under current economic conditions. Even if North Korea were somehow able to execute a soft landing and reunify with the South, huge social differences exist between the two Koreas that would make the process more costly and difficult than that experienced by other divided nations. In response, this thesis states that a primary aim of U.S. foreign policy in East Asia should be to prevent a collapse of North Korea, and proposes a combination of confidence building measures, economic aid and diplomatic engagement calculated to drive North Korea towards reengagement with the outside world and increased interdependence with South Korea. The primary goal of these policies is to promote peace and stability in the region, while paving the way for reconciliation. Reunification is treated as a domestic issue to be resolved by the two Koreas at some future date.
- Government and Political Science