Read the interview about the often forgotten issues of Korean nationalism and aspirations for reunification on the Peninsula.
Regarding South Korea’s unique perspective on the future trajectotry of unification:
The current South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, has repeatedly made clear that he opposes the use of military force against North Korea no matter what happens. He and his camp support the idea of a North-South confederation. Pyongyang has always seen confederation as a brief transition to a takeover of the South, while Seoul sees it as a symbolic union that will enable it to postpone real unification indefinitely.
Discussing the long shadow of Germany reunification that may be worrying the North Korean Kim regime:
The example of East Germany exerts a far greater cautionary effect on the North Koreans than Qaddafi’s fate does. The Honecker regime took what Americans and South Koreans keep recommending to North Korea as the “pragmatic” way out of its problems: It began opening up to the West, quasi-formally recognized the rival coethnic state’s right to exist, and focused on improving its own citizens’ standard of living. We all know how that ended. The same road would be even deadlier to North Korea, because while communism can legitimize itself with promises of a more equal society, an ultranationalist state that makes peace with the race enemy has no reason to exist.
Beijing announced it will send Song Tao, a special envoy of China’s President Xi Jinping, to North Korea on November 17. A Chinese spokesperson Geng Shuang said that Song’s is travelling to North Korea to give a briefing on the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Russia and North Korea share a short border but a long history.
When the United States and the Soviet Union drew theseemingly innocuous line dividing the Korean peninsula in 1953, it was regarded as a temporary administrative division for processing Japanese forces after World War II.
However, since then, Russia (and its Soviet Union predecessor) have been ensnared in the fate of the hermit Communist state.
Andray Abrahamian and Daekwon Son, writing in their 7th November piece for 38north.org, discussed some potential corollaries of the the recent de-escalation between China and South Korea over the contentious THAAD issue.
6 July, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Pyongyang to return to the dialogue table, noting it may be facing the last and best chance to do so. It was a stark message to convey: South Korea is willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at any time and any place under right circumstances.
“I make this clear here and now. We do not want North Korea’s collapse, nor will we seek any form of unification (with North Korea) by absorption,” Moon said.
This reference to not seek unification infers that the Kim regime can rest assured that it will be facing an existential threat by engaging in talks. This is a pivot from previous narratives promulgated by South Korean administrations, which base their policies on the ultimate goal of reunification under South Korea auspices.
Kim Jung Un’s sanity has been questioned for years. He is characterised and satirised as an unhinged megalomaniac. He is attributed with a desire to annihilate large parts of the world’s population by instigating nuclear war.
However, a counter-argument can be made that Kim Jung Un is, in fact, a rational actor.
North Korea’s nuclear development pursuits have cost the country a large percentage of its GDP, crippled its economic growth potential, isolated itself from the modern world and ultimately starved, stunted and subjected its citizens in this “social utoipa” for generations.
Yes, such actions are cruel and tyrannical, but they do not qualify as irrational from a game theory standpoint.