Korean Peninsula Affairs Center

Why North Korea 2014 Is Not East Germany 1989

Wednesday November 12, 2014
100 Eggers Hall


It is 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which set into motion the reunification of Germany. During that period, many scholars and policymakers predicted that the North Korea system would collapse and the Korean peninsula would be similarly reunited. Those predictions continue. But there are many reasons why North Korea today is not like East Germany in 1989. Nevertheless, there are lessons that can be learned from the German experience and applied to the Korean peninsula.

John Feffer, is the Director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. He was an Open Society Fellow in 2012-13, studying the transformations in Eastern Europe since 1989. He is the author of two books on Korea-U.S. relations.