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
Date Written: January 26, 2012
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
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