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Korean Reunification: High Hopes and Higher Hurdles

The Koreas would be much stronger together, if they could just overcome everything that’s kept them apart for 70 years.

  • Last updated: May 3
  • Total word count: 4003 words

Summary

On April 27, Kim Jong Un stepped over the military demarcation line at the Demilitarized Zone, becoming the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea since the war. Kim and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, then joined hands and briefly crossed back into North Korea. Their subsequent summit was the first between leaders of the North and South in more than a decade and only the third ever. Historic symbolism aside, this is familiar territory for Korea. Since 1972, on both sides of the 38th parallel, reunification has officially been portrayed as a matter of when, not if. And occasionally, peace initiatives have edged beyond mere rhetoric, leading to vague plans to establish some sort of loose confederation between the two.

But the overriding reality is that the two sides would have to defy myriad more immediate concerns and interests to achieve reunification. As a result, various peace initiatives have routinely devolved into disingenuous ploys (par

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Korean Reunification: High Hopes and Higher Hurdles