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Question about possible resolution to Koreas...

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: East Asia
Forum Discription: The Far East: China, Korea, Japan and other nearby civilizations
Printed Date: 21-Mar-2018 at 12:20
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Topic: Question about possible resolution to Koreas...
Posted By: pekau
Subject: Question about possible resolution to Koreas...
Date Posted: 15-Aug-2013 at 19:53
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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Posted By: lirelou
Date Posted: 16-Aug-2013 at 01:00
Pekau, in reference to: "North Korea made a lot of bad calls from desperation in response to desperate times,"

That's a rather simplistic way of stating it. North Korea's desperation lies in its own "military first" policy. It is the architect of all its own failures.

China has the right idea. Korea should be united under the Southern government's leadership. I note you call it a faction. It is hardly that. Unlike North Korea, whose very constitution makes the military the de facto ruler of the country, with the Chairman of the National Defense Commission the country's leader, since the legal leader of the country is Kim Il-sung, the Republic of Korea is actually governed by freely elected representatives of the citizens themselves. They do not have a corpse at the head of their government, nor the need to tie in any ruling dynasty to the alleged genetic pool of a legendary father of the nation (Dangun).

Good luck with your project. How do you get a practical modern government to negotiate with what is essentially a cult that makes the Scientologists look like amateurs?

North Korea needs to be consigned to the trash heap of history, and anything that China or Russia can do to speed that process up with only benefit 24 million North Korans in the long run.

One idea: Dismantle the United Nations Command. It became obsolete when the Soviet Union transitioned to the Russian Federation (which is hardly a failed state) and China withdrew its troops from North Korea. Getting rid of it will also help remove military bases from Japan, since some of those exist only because of a Japanese treaty with the U.N.. Let the two Koreas solve their own issue. If they opt to unite, South Korea's economy will be severely impacted, to a point far worse than Germany was. So there are good reasons for not reunifying in the near future. The dilemma, of course, is that the ROK cannot get rid of military conscription until the KPA is dismantled. As long as North Korea poses a threat, the South will have to maintain conscription.      

Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì

Posted By: pekau
Date Posted: 16-Aug-2013 at 02:38
Well, that's why this is an essay paper. Maybe I've been reading too many Tom Clancy novels.
I always viewed North Korean cult propaganda to be merely a tool to keep the people under illusion. It's not the first time a nation had the personality cult, and most North Korean elite oligarchs understand. They had over 50 years to screw things up if they were that idiotic, but they played a very carefully crafted foreign policies. Incompetence with domestic policy is not necessarily insanity. Cult worshiping is merely a jesture... the real importance is what North Korean elites are doing. The opening of Kaesong is to my opinion the real intention from the northern elites. It opened since 2004 or something of that sort and despite all the military conflicts and political differences, it still remains in operation until 2013, and there are talks to reopen again soon as the tension cooled down from Yangpyeong incident. 

I thought if North Korea is to have nukes, they wouldn't have to spend too much of their resources on military anymore. They still will to certain extent to keep the society in order, but they can reallocate the budget significantly now that they have backup insurance. The new dictator (or his uncle, to be more specific) spent a lot of time and effort to ensure the military loyalty is unquestionable. My concern about letting them fail completely is that when North Korea capitulates, the rouge generals could do a lot of damages. North Korea is like a cancer; if order is lost, then massive flood of uncontrolled military coups and refugees is not something South Korea or China wants. A desperate and disillusioned rouge general with nuke is more frightening than current North Korea since they have the sensibility to preserve the survival of the regime.  

Agreed with the conscription. I like your idea of UN command.  UN command is not popular in both Koreas anyway, and make the South appear that they're still the same puppet government. 

So I guess this is how I might go.

Dismantle UN Command and disband American bases near DMZ. 30,000 US troops aren't really a game changer especially now that South Korean military is more capable even if it is technically still outclassed by North Koreans except for air. I still oppose appeasement policy as it sends the wrong message to North Korea that their aggressive foreign policy is a viable solution. Maybe South Korea should develop their nuclear program as well? Unlike China/Taiwan situation, North Korea doesn't have the capability to sweep the South down (maybe until Seoul before they suffer logistics and supply issues).  I think economic special zones should still be allowed for North Korean elites to see what works and what don't as a reality check, and we still benefit from their cheap labor. Encourage more foreign investments (with China as a referee, as an insurance) for South Korea to tap North Korean resources but also play fair to ensure North Korea also benefits, showing more and more examples as to why South Korea works and communist method does not work. Like how Canada needs to eventually diversify their trade partners as US declines in the long term, South Korea should do the same and they're already going to similar direction. Have more open channels with China and go for a lot of joint projects like environmental projects to reduce the dust storm that affects both Chinese and Koreans alike. Invest heavily in high tech and media industry to make Chinese and rest of Asian countries to feel that they matter to them rather than just another Korea to worry about. Nuclear program should allow South Korea to reduce military budget. Play like USA did; invest more money on long-term goals while North Korea continue to waste money on ex-Soviet war machine. S Korea needs to demonstrate that she is a sovereign and neutral nation like Singapore, and continue to play by their strength rather than wasting resources to play silly games with the northern neighbor. Keep calm, and carry on. 

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Posted By: pekau
Date Posted: 16-Aug-2013 at 02:43
Oh yeah, and stop endorsing the unification movements. South Korea recognize that North Korea is there to stay for better or for worse, and as a neutral and fair nation... they should let it be and allow North Korea to decide for themselves whether they want better relationship with the south whether that's happens after North can learn to loosen up after dismantling UN command or after capitulation of North Korea.

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Posted By: lirelou
Date Posted: 17-Aug-2013 at 00:31
Pekau: This has me scratching my head: "even if it is technically still outclassed by North Koreans except for air" The South Koreans are outclassed by the KPA except for air? In what way do the North Koreans, the world's largest military museum, outclass the ROK Armed Forces?

South Korea is not a neutral nation, it is legally a nation still at war, though an armistice is in effect. The Republic of Korea spent ten years of sunshine policy, trying to convince the North that lowering tensions was in everyone's benefit. What they got for those efforts were dead sailors and a nuclear blast (well, fission at least.) And, the return of more conservative government. Apparently, many Korean voters who went with the Sunshine policy came to the conclusion that it was a dangerous failure.

ps, I haven't looked at it in years, but I believe the FAS Site (Federation of American Scientists) can give you an idea of just how out of date the KPA's weapons systems are.

Also, China as a referee? Maybe in Africa, but not in Korea. You may want to look up Goguryo and see how that has poisoned Sino-Korean relations to get an idea.

Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì

Posted By: kevinmorgan
Date Posted: 24-Feb-2015 at 10:16
Hardly to solve the issue of this one but separated country.

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