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Human Resources and Korean Reunification
Region: Asia
Published August 31, 2011
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Much has been written over the years on the geopolitical, security, legal, institutional, economic, and policy requisites for success in a hypothetical Korean reunification. One issue that has attracted much less attention is the role that human resources may play in any prospective reintegration of the still-divided Korean nation. The oversight is unfortunate, for it is all too clear that a yawning and still-widening chasm separates North and South with respect to such things as skills, education, health, and other critical human characteristics that shape individual and social potential in a modern and open economy. The staggering human resources gap between North and South today presages major complications for any future unification of the Korean Peninsula—yet these are issues policymakers and scholars in the ROK and the West seem barely to have begun thinking about.

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