Peace & Stability Journal Volume 7, Issue 1 - Page 8

Introduction North Korea’s hereditary rulers have been on “death watch” for decades, with many pundits regularly predicting the demise of the “Kim Family Regime.” Recent collapse scenarios are based on two potentially inter-related events: first, the sudden death of Kim Jong-eun, the 32-year-old Supreme Leader (so far in reasonably good health but without a male heir) and second, the emergence of alternative power centers either within the secretive Kim family clan itself or among key security organiza- tions. In turn, these power elites ultimately clash and break up the brittle, centralized regime. Anticipating a new territorial partition driven by internal groups aligning with either China or the South Korean/Western alliance, this “internal collapse” school plays down the hoary theme of Korean “reunification.” Instead, the camp predicts the formal demarcation line between North and South Korea may ultimately be pushed north of the Demilitarized Zone where it has existed since 1953. Korean Unification unification would likely relieve China from supplying the bulk of foreign aid to North Korea since the breakdown in Six-Party Talks in 2009. China might also be tempted to reinvigorate those talks, pursuing both denuclearization and unification, to burnish its status as a senior statesman above regional pow- er-brokering and to draw attention away from its actions in the South and East China Seas. On the other hand, China has long relied on North Korea as a buffer state to protect its northeastern flank. If the U.S. were to rebalance its military forces elsewhere in East Asia while enabling a unified Korea to deploy t H]\[\X›Z\[HY[H\[H \Z[[Y[]YH\XHY[BHPQ K[H[HY]]\ٙ[]H[ۜ˜[ۛH\XH\H[X[Y[H\\ۈ[[K[HX^H]HۘYY]]\]\X]HHܝܙX[\ۈHXH[YHܛH[HXB\HوH[H[Z[H[\K\H[\Hݙ\\8'[HX[\HH[ۚ^\˸'H[\ܙ[HX^H]H[[]Y]][ۘ[X\]H\\H[ܙBX[YXXHYܙX[[YX][ۈ\XܚYXY[ܙ\KB[H\\[ ۙ\ܙXHH[[HKˈ[\[X[Y\\Y\˂][YX][ۈًK[܈HۙY]YYܙX[[B\Y[H\X\[\[ۈوܙX[YY\܈[وB\^HYX\ˈ]\XY\YYHܝ[]ܙX[[YY [\H\ܝوX[SX\]H[[XY\]H[[Z][[[ۙX[[[H ]][YKܝܙX[XY\[HۙZ[[]ܙX[\HXۛZX[[ۜYZ[ܝܙXHX\\[Bܝ[HY[[XZ[[SܝܙX[[][ۜˈBY[[HYKZ[X\Y[[ۜXX[H\Z][HۜY\XH\ܙ][ۈ[›]X\\H\HYZ[]ZY܋[H[[ŒKH][Hܝ]HYܙYY\HBZH]ٙH[[ۜZHY]\\\]HK˂]Y\[ۈو][YX][ۈ[\[[H[YB[ZXY]PQ[X[ۈ[]ܙXH[[YܝوHܙX[[K\HHX\\ق Mˈ[H[^Z[]HXHHX\\[][܂H[KZ[H][[ۜ\H[YX]H[]\[ܝܙKB܈HXY][Y[و][YX][ۋH]HYܙYY[X\ۜܘ[\[HY\[[HX[][ۜوB]\H\H[[ۈ[[Y[[H] ۘ\وBۙ\Y\[ܝܙX[[K[K\YܙK\X\˜ۙY\][ۈ[Hܝ ܛ][H܈HHܛHقH[[X[X]H]\YH][[\^\ۂY\][ۋH][HܝYܙYY[BܝܙXK][YX][ۈ[]\X[ۋ[ܝ[][K\H[[XZ[\\][ۘ[[[HBۙ\ܞHوܙZYۈ[Y[\ۈHܙX[[[[K]˜ۘܙ]HXY][Y[]HY[XܙY]H][][H[Y\[HوH]XZ܈\][HۈBܙX[[[[KۙH]\\]\\و[Y[H܂[H[H]ܙX[\\[X[K]\[HY\HܝܙX[\O[HY[\[Z[[HۙXYX]ܙX[[YX][ۋ[[ݚ[ܝܙX[XX\X\ۜHHܙX[[[[H\H\[و[YX][ۈ[[[Z[]HHXZ܂X][\[[HKˋT]ܙXKR\[Z[]\B[X[KXZ[[H[X[H[ [\[^H[\BX\و[\[Y[HHKˈ[][Y\ˈ[Y][ۋH[Y[]\[^H[[’[H X\HܝܙXK[HY[\\XH[KB[HHݚ[\X\]ܙ\[Y[H[Y[]\[^KYH JH]Y\XYXۛZXZ[[H[B\XK H]ݙ\Y[[\\[XZ[Z[[HX\]HY\[^][HY[۸&\XZ[\[\\\[X\\X\ܝH\XK[ HH\H\وܝܙX[ٙXX[[YYY\][\\H[\H[][\HP[\Hݙ\Y[[\[K]ܙXK\[Z[X[X[[\][ۘ[ZY \Z[HXZH[Yš[][\H][\[H[H]\\وH[K]ZXH]X[[وHܝܙX[[XK\XKB\HHX[\\Y ܋[\]YYY[وY]K