Why the US and South Korea Don’t Invade North Korea – In the aftermath of World War II, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two sides: the North and the South. With backing from China and the USSR, communist North Korea invaded US-backed South Korea in 1950, triggering the Korean War. After three years of intense combat, an armistice was declared, with the 38th Parallel serving (roughly) as the border between the two sides. A 2.5-mile-wide strip of land, known as the demilitarized zone (DMZ), serves as a neutral buffer zone. On either side of this DMZ, both North and South Korea have a massive force ready to respond to any provocations — the DMZ is the world’s most heavily militarized and dangerous border. Since the armistice was not a peace agreement, the two Koreas are still technically at war, and every once in a while a brief clash breaks out.
Ever since the mid-1970s, the economy of South Korea has vastly outperformed that of the North. While South Korea is now a capitalist economic powerhouse, North Korea has retained its staggeringly inefficient centrally-planned economy, which has stagnated for decades. Furthermore, China’s transition to a more liberal form of governance combined with the collapse of the USSR has deprived North Korea of strong allies, so the North has difficulties exporting its few products and importing vital goods. Furthermore, the repressive Kim regime retains strict control over the country, regulating the movement of people, the content of media, and even citizens’ private conversations. Arbitrary executions, famines, and extreme poverty are just a few of the ills endured by many North Korean citizens.
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