Korea: A Time to be Bold?

A new strategy toward North Korea might just enable us to recover custody of our policy from fate.

Issue: Spring 1998

Pity poor Korea--and not, anymore, just the brooding North. On both sides of the feared demilitarized zone (DMZ), trends have taken a sharp turn for the worse. Start with Seoul: When the Asian financial crisis washed over it, South Korea's economy simply collapsed. The won lost more than half its value against the dollar, the Seoul stock market plunged 70 percent, and the crisis laid bare the cruel fact that South Korea resides on the edge of bankruptcy, and will remain there for some time to come. The country reportedly has more than $150 billion in foreign debt coming due in the next year or two, and just a few billion in currency reserves to pay it back.

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