Germany's Unification Strategy and Korea's Unification Perspectives

strongly revised, it was published as “The Challenges of Reunification: Why South Korea Cannot Follow Germany’s Strategy” in Korea Observer, 2013, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 249-287

34 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2012 Last revised: 18 Jan 2014

See all articles by Stefan Niederhafner

Stefan Niederhafner

Seoul National University - Department of PoliSci & IR

Date Written: January 26, 2012

Abstract

The Korean separation and possible unification remains at the centre of the South Korean political agenda and is influencing International Relations on a global scale as well. Consequentially, the debate focuses mainly on security issues from an IR perspective. The question, however, how a Korean unification could actually be achieved in practical terms is underexposed. Economic and even more so social questions are usually ignored. This article highlights critically several social and economic aspects of the German unification and draws inferences to the Korean case. It will be shown that the German strategy, focussing on a quick political unification, while achieving social and economic unity later, is not feasible for the Koreas. In contrast, it is argued that South Korea needs to develop strategies to maintain North Korea’s stability and to pursue social and economic harmonization first, before a political unification actually becomes a possibility.

Keywords: unification, Germany, South Korea, North Korea, economic and social convergence, monetary union, migration, identity

Suggested Citation

Niederhafner, Stefan, Germany's Unification Strategy and Korea's Unification Perspectives (January 26, 2012). strongly revised, it was published as “The Challenges of Reunification: Why South Korea Cannot Follow Germany’s Strategy” in Korea Observer, 2013, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 249-287. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2193877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2193877

Stefan Niederhafner (Contact Author)

Seoul National University - Department of PoliSci & IR ( email )

Seoul
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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