OEE Red Diamond JAN-MAR 19

Korea is an ancient land, with shared traditions,

language, and bloodlines across the peninsula.

Korea has a long history of foreign conquest

and rule,1 principally by the Chinese and then

by the Japanese, most recently during the first half of

the 20th century (1910-1945). Since the end of the

Second World War Korea has been divided politically

and militarily, with the Democratic People’s Republic

of Korea (DPRK) in the north under the influence

of the Eastern communist powers of first Russia and

then China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the

south under the influence of the democratic West,

namely the United States. Following partition in

1945, both Koreas began as authoritarian states, but

the ROK gradually evolved into a capitalist democracy

while the DPRK was founded as a communist

state and evolved from Marxism through Maoism to

Kimilsungism,”2 its own unique form of authoritarian

collectivism. Largely as a result of these competing

influences, since 1950 Korea has been engaged and

then suspended in the longest ongoing armed conflict

on the globe. Partition, war, and political ideology

have largely isolated the DPRK from much of the

world, while the ROK has become a regional power

and an economic power on the world stage. As a result

of the longstanding and multi-faceted relationship

between the United States and the ROK, the Korean

Peninsula as a whole and the DPRK specifically are

OEs of vital interest. This vital interest has only intensified

in recent years as the DPRK has pursued the

development of nuclear weapons and inter-continental

ballistic missiles (ICBMs).