The Korean peninsula in Northeast Asia is home to a country that was divided at the end of the Second World War after its liberation from Japanese colonialism. Because the Korean nation enjoyed a long dynastic history, its postwar partition was particularly traumatic. The ensuing Cold War years soon spawned a very hot Korean War and subsequent decades of strained inter-Korean relations and tensions in the region surrounding the peninsula. This volume provides readers who are unfamiliar with Korea's heritage with insight into how Korea became a divided nation engulfed in international geopolitical tensions, providing expert analysis of this rendered nation's background, modern circumstances, and future prospects. After a survey of Korea's geographic setting and historic legacy, Olsen details the circumstances of Korea's liberation and subsequent division. Drawing on that background, he analyzes the evolution of both South Korea and North Korea as separate states, surveying the politics, economics, and foreign policy of each. What are the key issues for each state from an international perspective? What are the prospects for reuniting the two into one nation? What challenges would a united Korea be likely to face? Olsen determines that stability in Korea is essential to future peace in the region. He concludes that a successful move toward unification is the best way to resolve issues connected to North Korea's nuclear agenda.