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The problem of Korean reunification: A scenario analysis

Dong-ho Han, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The problem of Korean reunification is one of the most important security issues in the coming decade for the Northeast Asian region. In this dissertation I present four different outcomes of the future of the two Koreas—Peaceful Reunification, Divorce plus Reconciliation, Cold War, and Hot War. Among these outcomes, I distinguish between possible scenarios and probable scenarios by using scenario methodology—identifying predetermined elements and critical uncertainties. The DPRK's nuclear weapons program, its political transition process, and the North Korean refugee crisis on the China-North Korea border are presented and analyzed as three critical uncertainties. Based on a thorough understanding and a critical exploration of various uncertainties ahead, Divorce plus Reconciliation comes out as an optimal outcome and Collapse of the DPRK could be a likely outcome if regional powers continue their current policy of denuclearization of the DPRK regime. Hence, regional powers involved with the Korean Peninsula, especially the United States, are expected to accept a few nuclear arsenals North Korea could seemingly have for the sake of regional stability. As for policy implications, this dissertation urges policy makers of concerned governments to prioritize regional stability over denuclearization, thereby increasing the level of stability in the region. ^

Subject Area

Asian Studies|Political Science, International Law and Relations

Recommended Citation

Han, Dong-ho, "The problem of Korean reunification: A scenario analysis" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3412271.