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South Korea’s unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, center, cheers with North Korean refugees and their family members during Chuseok, the Korean version of Thanksgiving Day, Paju, South Korea, Oct. 4, 2017 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

Korean Reunification Seems More Quixotic Than Ever. Now What?

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017

Since the initial division of the Korean Peninsula at the end of World War II, there has been a distant hope in diplomatic circles, as well as among many Koreans, that the split might one day be undone. American officials have supported Korean reunification for years, and even China, which benefits from the buffer North Korea provides between its border and the U.S.-allied South, has quietly favored the idea at times of heightened tensions. In preparation for a possible reunion, South Korea funds a Ministry of Unification that studies strategies for bringing the two states closer—and last month financed an $8 million humanitarian aid package for Pyongyang.

The goal of bringing the two Koreas together again has a certain historical appeal. It echoes the reunification of Germany, which healed a Cold War rift, reunited families and produced a powerhouse economy. Many hope that through shared history and culture, and pooled economic resources, the two countries could eventually be stronger together. ...

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