As a Korean, I am pretty much forced to think about my country. My brain is wired to detect anything Korean there is to find even in very exotic sources.
Anyway, to know about Korea (not just South Korea but including North Korea) is kind of a pain in the butt, since doing so makes you feel extremely indignant and even so helpless.
Korea was divided up during the Cold War conflict after WWII, which came about because Koreans were unable to free themselves before the war's end.
Many Koreans who lived in Manchuria (even today, China recognizes Korean population there and that's why Korean is one of the official languages in the region) and present-day Russian territory of Primorsky Krai were taken under China and Russia, respectively.
Even that no so large country of Korean peninsula cut in half, Korea is surrounded by great powers. China, world's second greatest country in GDP and the most populous country. Japan, world's third greatest in GDP just across the Korean Strait. Russia, 10th greatest in GDP with short but meaningful border with Northeast of North Korea.
To make matters worse, the division of Korea inevitably brought in capitalistic "ally" United States, which made Korean peninsula the equivalent of the Balkan peninsula before and during WWI.
Japan claiming a Korean island to be theirs.
China claiming Yellow Sea fishing rights right off the coast of Korea.
North Korea internationally overestimated as if it can do great harm to United States.
Stuck in between the two superpowers of the world, China and United States, Korea is in great dilemma. Whether to follow US or China. Korea can't follow both. Korea can't follow neither. Korea can't follow one or the other. Every single scenario brings interventions from the shouldered power. If that was it, it would be easier, but it isn't. Japan, still a great power, is trying to make their defense only military (due to their defeat in WWII) into a military that can invade other countries.
Though much better off than Taiwan, which is ignored by US and UN because of China's great power, Korea is in similar situation.
I don't have any solutions or any other thing to add but I just wanted to write my thoughts down.
That is a real struggle, isn't it? What do you guys think?
Jin Woo Won
An undergrad at Columbia University, studying Computer Science and in particular artificial intelligence.