The UN and Korean Leadership: Institution-building and Korean Peninsula Unification


In the idea of institution-building, does Korea’s playing a leadership role here allow more familiarity with processes that one day
may assist it in terms of it’s integration, whether by sudden collapse [of the DPRK] or
by integration over time? Certainly, the demands on a Korean Peninsula integrating will be
immense and require a great deal of international support. Will Korea’s new leadership roles
help prepare it for that eventuality? That is a brilliant question, actually. The
assumed, traditional logic of integration in Peninsular issues is that things will get
sorted out, and that the international community will help support that process. The German
experience of integration how heavy the burden of history and integration. While Korea is a very different animal and
has its own unique challenges with integration, the fact is that most of it has to come from
inside. That’s skill sets. That’s orientations. That’s institutions. I think your question
is a good one because the ROK is currently accumulating a new range of necessary skill
sets. It is gaining a great deal of experience with humanitarian, stabilization, and institution-building
issues that could be applied much closer to home than where they currently are with their
tenure on the Security Council. There’s never a one-for-one transfer of experience
from one place to another. Rather than segregating Peninsular issues as unique, I believe there
are things you can learn from your experience in other things that could be applied. Of course, there will
be some things that are unique to the Korean Peninsula that no amount of experience somewhere
else can substitute. I think it will be an interesting blend when that time comes. I truly hope that the growth on the international stage that we’ve witnessed with Korea does, in fact,
translate to a smoother and more effective ultimate unification of the Peninsula.

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