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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

The Changbi Group’s East Asia Theory: Progressive Intellectual Discourses on Korean Unification and East Asian Peace

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2021, v.61 no.1, pp.126-153


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Abstract

Drawing attention to the geopolitical significance of the Korean Peninsula, many scholars have defined Korean unification as a critical condition for promoting East Asian community-building. During the 1990s, members of the Changbi Group, most notably Paik Nak-chung, Choi Won-shik, and Baik Young-Seo, proposed the idea that Korean unification plays such an important role, following Paik’s proposal of the Division System Theory. The East Asia Theory espoused by these scholars provides an opportunity to rethink contemporary Korean reality from the perspectives of both an individual state and the context of East Asia as a region. Despite the significance of these intellectual discussions, academia still awaits a detailed study of the analytic/ conceptual strengths and limitations of the East Asia Theory as a whole. Another point of contention that may be raised with previous research on the East Asia Theory is the lack of attention given to the theory’s practical implications. To fill this lacuna, this article offers a theoretical examination of the Changbi Group’s East Asia Theory, with a focus on its practical implications. Finally, this study looks into the limitations of the East Asia Theory and suggests a possible reformulation of it.

keywords
Changbi Group East Asia Theory Korean unification division system East Asia peace

Korea Journal