Unlocking Russian Interests on the Korean Peninsula
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The close relationship that once existed between Moscow and Pyongyang is a relic of the Cold War. In fact, there is reason to believe that the two neighbors now share little in common. Yet decades ago, the Soviets exercised tremendous influence over the North Korean regime, anecdotally evidenced by Kim Il-sungs fateful request to Josef Stalin asking to invade the South in 1950. Stalin, after much consternation, finally gave his approval. By deferring to Stalin, Kim Il-sung sought continued Soviet support, which he received for roughly 40 years until the breakup of the Soviet Union. In the early 1990s, however, this partnership changed significantly. Russias national interests have conspicuously drifted since then, favoring South Korea over the North. What has caused the shift in Moscows attention south from Pyongyang to Seoul, and what are the strategic consequences of this development in light of South Koreas goal to one day reunify the peninsula This striking change in Russian focus is significant because it offers opportunities to enhance the United States-Republic of Korea alliance, opportunities that should be carefully incorporated into Americas strategic planning.
- Government and Political Science