ABSTRACT

The dominant factor shaping the evolution of the two Koreas has been the global confrontation between the superpowers. The superpowers agreed on the division of the peninsula for the purpose of military occupation, and thereafter, as the cold war intensified, each became more determined to keep within its own camp the part of Korea that its forces had liberated. The Korean governing elite on each side had even stronger reason to cleave to its superpower sponsor. The desperate struggle for survival during the Korean War had instilled in them profound suspicion of each other and strengthened their determination to secure the dominant position in a reunified Korea. Their need for superpower support was greater than the superpowers' need of them, which placed them in a relatively weak bargaining position.