Threading on thin ice? Conflict dynamics on the Korean Peninsula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In 2018, both the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their separate governments. This is a sad reminder that much remains frozen on the Korean Peninsula. For one, families have been separated and communication channels between the two Korean populations are almost non-existent. Yet, stability is precariously established by an Armistice that was signed in 1953 and that was never replaced by a permanent peace mechanism. Moreover, North Korea’s rapid nuclear development has contributed to tensions and uncertainties, and the Six-Party Talks, originally designed to ensure the denuclearisation of the peninsula, has been at a standstill for almost 10 years. The Korean story is thus a prime case to study the dynamics of a frozen conflict and this article contributes to the existing literature and analysis of frozen conflicts by suggesting looking at peaceful and violent thawing, as well as conflict withering. In order to so, the paper focuses on three crucial levels: (1) the micro level, the impact of the Armistice in light of today’s Koreas as opposed to their status and standing at the end of the Korean War in 1953, (2) the meso level with geostrategic concerns concentrated over sectorial policies surrounding the Korean Peninsula in a globalised world, and (3) the macro level with the changing nature of security governance. It is argued that in a catch-22 motion, the thread of violent thawing maintains the conflict in its frozen state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31–45
Number of pages15
JournalAsia Europe Journal
Volume17
Issue number1
Early online date8 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019

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