This article aims at explaining the changes in inter-Korean relations since the inauguration of the new administration in South Korea in 2008. By focusing on leadership, regime, and social factors in the two Koreas, the article emphasizes the social dynamics that are shaping inter-Korean relations despite the nuclear dispute. In the political realm, a tough stance toward North Korea’s nuclear ambition by the South’s government has created a sense of frustration within the North Korean leadership, causing tension and conflict with the South. In the social realm, however, both Koreas have been pressured by political and economic hardship and a growing sense of crisis among their citizens. From that latter perspective, however, the prospects are that the two Koreas will move toward more cooperative behavior. The role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the United States will be important in achieving that outcome.


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pp. 111-135
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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