January 7, 2019 Victor Cha, Joseph Bermudez and Marie DuMond—
Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-connection of the railways in North and South Korea, the rail networks of the Korean peninsula could then be integrated into a rail network spanning the Eurasian continent through China and Russia. If actualized, this would mark a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment for the Korean peninsula. Nonetheless, a long and significant modernization process will need to take place to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way.
October 18, 2017 Marie DuMond—
Domestic stabilization is the most critical issue with unification for South Korean officials and experts, registering the highest composite score (i.e., high level of concern and low level of knowledge). This means civil-military relations, law and order, and stability in the North represent the issues for which Koreans see great consequences for national interests, but for which they have little prior knowledge or understanding. Hence, it is the greatest potential “blind spot” of unification. Costs related to unification rank a close second for South Koreans, followed by refugees, nuclear weapons, and human rights.
April 8, 2016—
A survey study of 233 of the United States’ top Asia/Korea experts, government officials, scholars, and opinion leaders found that domestic stabilization, not nuclear weapons, ranks as the #1 issue for the U.S. with unification (i.e., highest composite score in the entire survey in terms of most acute lack of knowledge/most acute concern for U.S. interests). The top four blind spots for the U.S.: 1) domestic stabilization; 2) nuclear weapons; 3) economic development; 4) cost.