Author(s): David Wilson
Though they share a border, a culture, a language, and thousands of years of history, it is hard to imagine two nations more different than North and South Korea. South Korea is a vibrant player in the global economy renowned for its technological and industrial prowess, while North Korea is a police state in which any political opposition to dictator Kim Jong-Un is met with exceptionally brutal punishment. How did the Korean Peninsula, an area smaller than the state of Colorado, come to play such a big role in the world today? The answer lies in the inconclusive Korean War of 1950 to 1953, which divided the Korean Peninsula at the 38th Parallel, and divided Korea into two states: communist and capitalist. The war and its aftermath have sucked in the world's great powers: China supports North Korea while the United States is allied with South Korea. As North Korea works to develop a nuclear weapons program, the question of whether these super powers will come to blows over an unresolved Cold War conflict becomes more demanding each day.