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The South Korean Left's 'Northern Question'

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains the split in the South Korean Democratic Labor Party (DLP). It discusses about 'social' and 'national' movements to analyse the two main factions within the party and the sources of the tensions between them. The chapter traces the process leading up to this split, from the heated debates among the factions after North Korea's nuclear test, through the response to the Ilsimhoe case, to the defeat of the reform proposals at the DLP Congress in February 2008, which finalised the break-up of the party. It concludes that in light of the broader shifts in Korean society regarding policy towards the North and the trajectory of those changes, the implications that the recent experience of the DLP regarding the 'Northern Question' has for the future of the left in Korea, as well as South Korea's relationship with the North.

Keywords: democratic labor party (DLP); Ilsimhoe case; nuclear test; South Korea



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