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Korean unification: Prospect and global implications

While the prospects of Korean unification may appear grim in light of continued tensions between the two Koreas, such outlooks have not deterred the ongoing preparation process for unification. Over the past several decades, policymakers and experts have devised varied unification scenarios to deal with the ever-changing political and security situations on the peninsula. Now with South Korea’s expanded role as a middle power nation, unification will undoubtedly include far-reaching implications pertaining to global security, economics, and geopolitics. Such implications will demand a greater role from international actors in the process.

On February 27 to 28, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies co-hosted a conference on the prospects of Korean unification and its global political and economic implications. Jointly organized by the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at the Australian National University, the Asiatic Research Institute at Korea University, and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, the conference convened renowned Korean and international specialists in academia and research institutes to present their academic and policy-oriented research. This was the third in a series of conferences organized on Korean unification—the earlier workshops were in Seoul in 2015 and Canberra, Australia in 2016.

The conference focused on reviewing recent developments in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia, analyzing various scenarios of Korean unification, and assessing the economic and security effects of unification on North and South Korea and the Asia-Pacific region. Participants also provided insights from other international cases of unification and discussed a direction for policies towards cooperation and peace in Northeast Asia.


Changes in Northeast Asian geopolitics and prospect of Korean unification

Victor Cha

Senior Vice President and Korea Chair - Center for Strategic and International Studies

Vice Dean for Faculty and Graduate Affairs and D.S.-Song - KF Professor of Government - Georgetown University


Sung-wook Nam

Director, Center for North Korean Studies - Asiatic Research Institute of Korea University

Implications from international experiences of unification


Marcus Noland

Executive Vice President and Director of Research - Peterson Institute for International Economics


Ari Kokko

Director, Asia Research Centre - Copenhagen Business School


Hyung-gon Jeong

Vice President - Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Security implications of Korean unification

Scott Snyder

Senior Fellow for Korea Studies, Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy - Council on Foreign Relations

Political and social effects of Korean unification


Gilbert F. Rozman

Editor-in-Chief - The Asan Forum

Professor Emeritus - Princeton University

Economic impacts of Korean unification

Nicholas Eberstadt

Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy - The American Enterprise Institute

How to achieve cooperation and peace in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia


Jong-Wha Lee

Professor of Economics - Korea University


Marcus Noland

Executive Vice President and Director of Research - Peterson Institute for International Economics


Jangho Choi

Associate Research Fellow - Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

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