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Kim Il Sung, Park Chung Hee, and the Failure of Korea’s Reunification, 1971–1973

Wilson Center Global Fellow Sergey Radchenko and Senior Scholar Bernd Schaefer published "Kim Il Sung, Park Chung Hee, and the Failure of Korea’s Reunification, 1971–1973" in "Cold War History."

Wilson Center Global Fellow Sergey Radchenko and Senior Scholar Bernd Schaefer published an article "‘Red on White': Kim Il Sung, Park Chung Hee, and the Failure of Korea’s Reunification, 1971–1973" in in the journal Cold War History.

The articles argues that in 1971–1973 North Korea’s leader Kim Il Sung used the Sino-American rapprochement and the Soviet-American détente to pursue Korean reunification on his terms; his aim was to ‘democratize’ and then ‘revolutionize’ South Korea and so achieve through dialogue what he failed to achieve through militancy. Kim’s game was based on a misreading of the political dynamics in South Korea and on misplaced confidence in North Korea’s attractiveness. He also misjudged his ability to obtain China’s and the USSR’s backing for his schemes.

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