Lankov on the rise of China and Korean unification

Andrei Lankov recently wrote a paper on the rise of China and the implications for Korean unification for a Korean-language publication.

You can download a PDF of the paper in English here.

The rise of China can be seen as the single most important strategic problem which Korea faces currently. In the late 1970s, China entered a phase of high-speed economic growth, which still seems to be almost unstoppable. According to World Bank estimates, the average annual increase in China’s GDP in the years 2000-2009 was 9.7%. This is the world’s highest growth rate. Perhaps for the first time in modern history, the country which has the highest growth rate is the country with the largest population.

The future of Korea depends on its ability to find how to handle the Chinese challenge. It is going to be difficult, but there are hopeful signs, too: Chinese political elite may be remarkably realist, even Machiavellian, in their outlook but also rational and averse to adventurism. This gives Korea some hope that compromises with China will be possible. Without such compromises no unification of Korea will be possible in a new world where China is bound to be a major player.


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