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Relations Between the Two Koreas in 2012

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Chapter Summary

In 2012, relations between the Republic of Korea (ROK-South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK-North Korea) were marked by continuous flexing of rhetorical muscles and military provocations. The DPRK leadership seemed confident that time would play into their hands: the South Korean president Lee Myung-bak had already entered the lame-duck period of his term and progressive political forces were gaining ground in the polls. After the death of DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, some observers in the ROK saw an opportunity to 'reset' the policy towards the North. The ROK's military defence capabilities and joint military drills with the United States (US) were expanded, both in quantity and quality. Nevertheless, in anticipation of improved inter-Korean ties the National Assembly approved the presidential transition team's increase in the inter-Korean co-operation fund and the ministry of unification's (MOU) budget by about 10 and 5 percent respectively.

Keywords: Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK); Kim Jong Il; Lee Myung-bak; military; Republic of Korea (ROK); United States (US)



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