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Question about possible resolution to Koreas...

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pekau View Drop Down

Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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    Posted: 16 Aug 2013 at 13:20
I've been thinking about how to resolve decades worth of tensions and mistrusts between North and South Korea... it's the topic of the essay I have to write. I had an unorthodox thought that sounded like one of those plan so crazy it just might work, but I didn't live in Korea long enough to understand how the locals think. And so I approached some Koreans I know: my Korean mom, and some Korean neighbors that know my parents. Because it could lead to Korean scholarship committee for evaluation, I've been told that my idea may not be a great approach if I'm playing to win. I'm hoping to talk to the committee staff to see if they're fine with my argument, but I thought maybe I'd ask for some insights from people here. 

My idea goes something like this. North Korea' two allies are no longer reliable allies that could support their ineffective economy. Soviet Union has collapsed and China has changed too much for many people, including the communist party, to slowly alienating from North Korea' interests, as proven by growing number of puzzled Chinese people and public speeches to denounce North Korea' nuclear ambition and supporting UN sanction. Wikileak also showed that China is now becoming impatient with North Korea' regime and prepared to consider a unified Korea under southern faction's leadership. With crippled economy, growing social and demographic issues fueled by their slowly yet aging Soviet-model military, their best way to secure their regime is to establish nuclear capability.

Instead of demanding the disarmament, South Korea should recognize that they will eventually go nuclear anyway and offer their scientific support paid by North Korea to help their nuclear program. But not merely to build nuclear powerplants and leave, they should impose significant influence on North Korean elites by establishing safety protocols, help making guidelines on proper measures of nuclear deterrence, and allow further South Korean investments in North Korea like Kaesong. This would prove North Korea that South Korea is a capable and sovereign nation free from imperialist influence. South Korea' reduction of military budget and abolishing conscription would further convince not just North Korea, but China as well, that their intentions are sincere. South Koreans would also benefit by being able to use the military budget to better cause and help young adults to follow their dreams rather than wasting a year or two. 

North Korea made a lot of bad calls from desperation in response to desperate times,  but it is likely that they'd be more open to economic and social reform now that their regime isn't as vulnerable as it used to. South Korean culture and media are already influencing middle and upper class based on defectors' sources, so North Korea will eventually embrace change and follow the similar model as Chinese did under Xiapeng's leadership supported by the South. It is essential that South Korea does not follow appeasement policy. As the standard of living gap narrows and Korean societies reach the kind of relationship enjoyed by EU or US;Canada, under Chinese blessing (one less pro-western nation, and great potential trade partner), Far East would be more peaceful and prosperous place. 

It's long summary, but that's the jest of what I had. It's only two page essay, so I could get too much details as to how this could play out. If you also have better ideas, I'd love to hear them. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2014 at 12:51
I don't have any argument with what you've written, but I think you've overlooked one important factor.
The leadership of North Korea over the past three generation has been patrilineal-passing from grandfather to father to son. Unfortunately, all three, Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and the current leader, Kim Jung Un have been erratic in their policies towards South Korea and continual threats of aggression have become the norm.
Take for example the Family Reunion Policy, it has been established and then dismissed on so many occasions that people on both sides of the border have no idea if or when they may see their family members again.
One could have expected a slightly different attitude from Kim Jun Un, as he was educated in the west, speaks English and of course is younger. But this hasn't been the case. First his government makes a number of threats against the south, and then, perhaps more spectacularly, he has his uncle executed for Treason. Not being satisfied with that, he has uncles whole family executed.
The insanity which was Kim Il Sung has devolved to his grandson. On that basis, I see no real hope of change in North Korea in the next 50 years or more.
International sanctions against North Korea continue to bite harshly, while South Korea becomes a technological world giant.

Edited by toyomotor - 07 Mar 2014 at 12:53
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