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p. 875. Competing states, diverging societieslocked

  • Michael J. Seth


By 1953 almost all Koreans had accepted that they belonged to a single nation united by blood, culture, history, and destiny. However, the end of the Korean War left them divided into two states. ‘Competing states, diverging societies’ explains that each state shared the same goal of creating a prosperous, modern, unified Korean nation-state that would be politically autonomous and internationally respected. The leadership of each saw the division as temporary and themselves and the state they governed as the true representative of the aspirations of the Korean people, and the legitimate successor to the pre-colonial state. While sharing many of the same goals they followed very different paths to reach them and became ever more divergent societies.

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