A Strategy for Reunification and U.S. Disengagement
Selig S. Harrison
With a new afterword by the author
Nearly half a century after the fighting stopped, the 1953 Armistice has yet to be replaced with a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. While Russia and China withdrew the last of their forces in 1958, the United States maintains 37,000 troops in South Korea and is pledged to defend it with nuclear weapons. In Korean Endgame, Selig Harrison mounts the first authoritative challenge to this long-standing U.S. policy.
Harrison shows why North Korea is not--as many policymakers expect--about to collapse. And he explains why existing U.S. policies hamper North-South reconciliation and reunification. Assessing North Korean capabilities and the motivations that have led to its forward deployments, he spells out the arms control concessions by North Korea, South Korea, and the United States necessary to ease the dangers of confrontation, centering on reciprocal U.S. force redeployments and U.S. withdrawals in return for North Korean pullbacks from the thirty-eighth parallel.
Similarly, he proposes specific trade-offs to forestall the North's development of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, calling for the withdrawal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella in conjunction with agreements to denuclearize Korea embracing China, Russia, and Japan. The long-term goal of U.S. policy, he argues, should be the full disengagement of U.S. combat forces from Korea as part of regional agreements insulating the peninsula from all foreign conventional and nuclear forces.
A veteran journalist with decades of extensive firsthand knowledge of North Korea and long-standing contacts with leaders in Washington, Seoul, and Pyongyang, Harrison is perfectly placed to make these arguments. Throughout, he supports his analysis with revealing accounts of conversations with North Korean, South Korean, and U.S. leaders over thirty-five years. Combining probing scholarship with a seasoned reporter's on-the-ground experience and insights, he has given us the definitive book on U.S. policy in Korea--past, present, and future.
Selig S. Harrison is a former Washington Post Bureau Chief in Northeast Asia and the author of five books about the continent. He served as Senior Fellow and Director of Asian Studies at the Brookings Institution and, for twenty-two years, as a Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has visited North Korea seven times and met the late President Kim Il Sung twice. He played a key role in setting the stage for the 1994 U.S. nuclear freeze agreement with Pyongyang.