Charles K. Armstrong, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies in the Social Sciences at Columbia University, co-wrote (with John Barry Kotch) the April 30, 2018 South China Morning Post op-ed “US-North Korea Summit Can Undo the Historical Mistakes that Led to Division,” about the historic talks between North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in.
“Overcoming 70 years of bitter division on the Korean peninsula will not be achieved easily or quickly, and the Koreans may not see their country reunified for another generation or more,” Armstrong and Kotch write. “But a successful US-North Korea summit could lead towards real progress in ending the militarisation of the peninsula, allowing for the construction of a new relationship while enhancing the security and stability in the East Asia. With the right strategy and under enlightened leadership of the kind evidenced by Moon’s bridge-building, radically different regimes could peacefully coexist, perhaps following the German model of the 1970s and 1980s or the ‘one country, two systems’ formulation of mainland China and Hong Kong. Such an arrangement would certainly be preferable to the tense and dangerous situation we have today, and could enable the Koreans finally to work out how to build a unified nation on their own, a task denied them by the short-sighted superpowers of the late 1940s.”
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