Peace and security on the Korean peninsula: Reflections on the economic dimension

Patrick, Hugh T.

Our Study Mission focused on the potential for instability and hence military or other confrontations between North and South Korea that emanate from conditions within North Korea. We identified three major potential causes of instability. One is the potential threat of North Korea producing and hence possessing nuclear weapons. I, like others, consider this a highly destabilizing factor; it is discussed elsewhere in the Study Mission report. A second factor is the transition of political leadership following the death of President Kim II Sung. While his son, Kim Jung II, apparently is his designated successor, there is some uncertainty as to the nature of the transition process. Typically in Communist nations the legitimacy of leadership change has been open to question and tension and conflicts in the transition period have been the norm. This second issue is also dealt with elsewhere in the Study Mission report. The third potential cause of instability lies in the possibility of economic decline, even collapse, of the North Korean economy sufficient to engender chaos which would have severe political and security repercussions.

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Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 56
Published Here
February 8, 2011