Emerging Threats, Force Structures, and the Role of Air Power in Korea

By Natalie W. Crawford | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
CONCEPTUALIZING POST-UNIFICATION DEFENSE
CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIES
In-Taek Hyun and Woosang Kim

INTRODUCTION

During the Cold War, the bipolar structure of world politics and policies of extended deterrence pursued by the two superpowers provided a basic stability in Northeast Asia. In the post–Cold War period, this stable security order appears vulnerable. Potential sources of instability include: North Korea's nuclear weapons program and continuing aggression against South Korea, which make the Korean peninsula one of the world's most volatile flash points; China's dissatisfaction with the existing regional security order, which Beijing sees as being created and dominated by the United States and its allies; Japan's continuing difficulty in dealing with either its past history or its current financial crisis; and Russia's ongoing domestic turmoil and mismatch between its self image and current international status.

This chapter examines several different long-term regional security environments, based on potential changes in the distribution of power among the main regional actors and their strategies to secure their national interests, and explores the security threats each might pose to a unified Korea. The chapter first identifies four alternative scenarios for the regional security environment in the early part of the 21st century—power transition, hegemonic stability, balance of

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