15. A spatial strategy for Korean reunification Won Bae Kim and Harry W. Richardson INTRODUCTION This chapter addresses a serious problem of global importance: how should we prepare for the possibility, hopefully the inevitability, of Korean reunification? It does not address the political complexities of that event; we leave that to others better informed. Instead, it is based on the following set of assumptions. Reunification will happen. We do not know when. We do not know how. We believe, and hope, it will not be the result of military conflict. It could be as a result of the collapse of the North Korean regime. Alternatively, there might be a gradual evolution of economic cooperation between the South and the North that might in the long run result in reunification. Most excursions into this issue focus on geopolitics. We take a different approach. We adopt a spatial approach. We explore two main alternative scenarios: A sudden R-Day (Reunification Day) scenario modelled on what happened in Germany, or a TP (Transition Phase) scenario, which requires considerable preparation in advance of reunification and a measured response when reunification occurs. POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS This chapter is not about politics; it is about the spatial planning for a unified Korea that would have drastic economic and political implications. We avoid the political background, primarily by assuming reunification will happen, but at some indeterminate date in the future. It could be next year; it might be in twenty years. Hopefully, it will occur later rather than sooner...
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