Korean Reunification Seems More Quixotic Than Ever. Now What?

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).
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).
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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 […]

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