The relationship between the ROK and DPRK is bound to be affected by the two great powers—the US and China. Especially in recent decades, the power gap between the two great powers has continued to narrow. Given this, how is the geopolitical situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula shaping inter-Korean relations? This study uses event data and statistical analysis to explore the geopolitical factors that shaped inter-Korean relations from 1993 to 2019. We find that DPRK–ROK relations deteriorated as the power gap between the US and China narrowed. Also, inter-Korean relations were positive when DPRK–US relations were positive. In short, we conclude that during the shift in the US–China power distribution, maintaining positive DPRK–US relations while also managing inter-Korean relations peacefully is necessary for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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