Gorbachev’s Foreign Policy Toward the Korean Peninsula, 1985-1991 Power and Reform

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This is the first volume in English to comprehensively analyze Gorbachev’s foreign policy toward the two Koreas. Drawing on interviews with key officials of South Korea and the Soviet Union/Russia and utilizing materials written in English, Korean, and Russian, Joo systematically explores the Soviet Union’s shifting goals and behavior toward the two Koreas, while focusing on the influence of Gorbachev’s shifting power position within the Soviet leadership on his Korea policy. Insightful and informative, this volume will be of interest to students of Soviet, post-Soviet, and Korean foreign relations, and to all those interested in the dynamic relationship between Gorbachev’s power consolidation at home and his foreign policy behavior.


“Drawing on diverse scholarly, journalistic and official sources in Korean, Russian, and English, the author provides insights into internal Soviet dynamics that shaped both Gorbachev’s role in policy making and the directions of Soviet policy toward Korea in the Soviet Union’s waning years. Its major contribution to the study of Korean-Russian relations is this emphasis on internal Soviet factors rather than stressing external geopolitical factors. This focus helps to fill a gap in our understanding of a key player in Korean affairs.” – Dr. Edward A. Olsen, Professor of National Security, Department of National Security, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

“. . . an impressively detailed work that examines political, economic, and security dimensions of Russo-South Korean and Russo-North Korean relations as well as the regional implications of Russia’s new diplomatic approach to the problem of divided Korea. This unique work should find a place on the shelf of every scholar and policy-maker interested in East Asia. . . . Drawing on numerous personal interviews he conducted with key officials of the former Soviet Union and South Korea, Professor Joo presents information not found elsewhere about the intricate domestic political calculation and the complex international diplomacy behind Gorbachev and Roh’s decision to normalize relations between Moscow and Seoul in 1990. No doubt, scholars and policy analysts will cite his work for years to come and be grateful for his skillful integration of original research with existing literature – in English, Korean, and Russian – on Russo-Korean relations. . . . his writing is a pleasure to read and easy to understand. He eschews jargons and shibboleths that often mar the works of political scientists, His trenchant analysis of the linkage between internal group politics and foreign policy behavior is wonderfully clear and, at the same time, rich in detail. . . . The work should be welcomed addition to the reading list of undergraduate and graduate classes on East Asian international relations.”- Dr. C. S. Eliot Kang, Department of Political Science, Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: (chapter headings)
Preface by Vernon V. Aspaturian
1. Introduction
2. The New Political Thinking and the Korean Peninsula
3. The Changing Northeast Asian Strategic Equation
4. South Korea’s Nordpolitik Intersects with Gorbachev’s New Political Thinking
5. The Soviet Union and the Two Koreas in the Cold War
6. Gorbachev Rising: The Formulation of New Political Thinking (March 1985-Spring 1988)
7. Gorbachev Ascendant: The Implementation of New Political Thinking (Summer 1988 - Summer 1990)
8. Gorbachev in Decline: The Continuing Momentum of New Thinking (Fall 1990-1991)
9. Conclusion
Bibliograph; Index

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