THE GANDO DISPUTE AND THE FUTURE OF NORTHEAST ASIA'S STABILITY
Colonel Eungjo Do
Republic of Korea Army
U.S. Army War College Class of 2011
The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the Republic of Korea Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, the ROK Ministry of Defense, or the U.S. or ROK Governments.
Today's strategic environment on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.
One roadblock to peace in Northeast Asia is a territorial dispute over a piece of terrain called Gando, which is located between the Korean peninsula and Chinese Manchuria and was a Korean territory until 1909. China currently controls the territory, but the controversy over control of Gando will reemerge if or when Korea is reunified.
Gando is of such significant geopolitical and geostrategic importance that it could ignite a crisis among the nations of Northeast Asia that could potentially affect world stability. Thus a peaceful resolution to this dispute is critical to both Korea and China.
This U.S. Army War College International Fellow student author argues:
---- that Gando should ultimately be handed back to Korea;
---- this, however, first requires an intermediate process that will be acceptable to both Korea and China;
---- there exists a peaceful and realistic way for this to occur, with the final decision on control of Gando in the hands of the residents themselves; and
---- that outcome will increase stability in Northeast Asia in the rapidly changing global environment and promote a prospering commerce hub between Korea, China, and Russia.
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