Below is a great blog post from the Fletcher Security Review, take a look!
What will happen to North Korea? For over 20 years, speculation has run the gamut. The small circle of expert academics tend to agree on three possibilities of varying likelihood: (1) military confrontation and subsequent regime collapse, (2) a slow China-like economic liberalization, or (3) implosion of the regime under external pressure. Military confrontation is considered highly improbable, but economic liberalization or regime implosion remains hotly debated.
Reunification has profound economic implications for South Korea and the region. Would it result in a profound shrinking of the South Korean defense budget, or increase due to stabilization efforts? Would there be an influx of working-age men into the economy or systemic dysfunction? Simply put, would the benefits of reunification outweigh the costs?
Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA analyst, argues for the collapse of the regime and the positive benefits that ensue. In “A Korea Whole and Free,” Terry lays out the positive effects of reunification. John Delury and Chang-in Moon responded by co-authoring “A Reunified Theory” which attempts to dissect and disprove Terry’s assessment of the climate on the peninsula, arguing for the economic and humanitarian devastation that would result from collapse; they further hold that collapse itself is unlikely, and that economic liberalization is a more viable forecast.
Terry provides a final rebuttal in “A Reunified Theory” establishing a foundation for the reader from which to consider and frame the ongoing dialogue surrounding the question with which we started. What next?