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Should Korea be reunified? (Assuming collapse of NK a la East Germany)

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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:21 PM
Original message
Should Korea be reunified? (Assuming collapse of NK a la East Germany)
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 03:22 PM by Ignacio Upton
I know that this scenario might seem too rosy to comprehend, but I don't see how North Korea can survive politically when Kim Jong Il dies. Does he have a son or daughter to take over when he dies, like his father, Kim Il-Sung, had in him? In the former USSR and China unlike North Korea, there was a Communist Party independent of Stalin and Mao, so their institutions were able to survive long after the deaths of their "glorified leaders," and eventually Communism collapsed in both countries (while the party still runs everything in China, the country is capitalistic/authoritarian in practice, and friendly to exploitive corporations.)
The only other Communist country I can think of that may have this personality problem is Cuba, but Castro has a clear plan of sucession in his brother Raul (although he's only a few years younger than Fidel, so his reign would only last a few years.)

Assuming that Kim dies and North Korea implodes, would it be prudent for South Korea to absorb NK, like West Germany did with East Germany? Personally, I support reunification, BUT only in gradual steps, because the economic problems that reunification would bring on would cause major economic damage to South Korea. Today, the former East Germany is the country's poorest region, and the Communists still hold political sway in the area (although I think it's beginning to change, as Merkel is from East Germany and grew up there under Soviet oppression.) Also, I'm wondering if China and Japan are willing to put up with a reunified Korea? They might see a unified Korea as a threat in military terms (I'm assuming that South Korea would inherit Kim Jong Il's nukes and what's left of his military) and in all honesty, I could see China invading an annexing the north to prevent South Korea from moving in. Japan would be incapable of doing that, as they're not geographically contigous, and even if they rebuild their military, I still see China as the regional hegemon in military terms.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Duh. In particular, we/SK should get in there before China does...
... and sets up another divided state.
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. IMO, yes.
The population of NK suffers greatly at the expense of Kim making hardcore weapons like a nuke. It would be difficult, but SK is ready for it. I'm just not sure how it could be done.
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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I'm worried that China will invade after Kim's death
And proclaim their presence as a "peace-keeping" mission that will turn North Korea into another Tibet. I also don't trust Japan to go there, as they ruled the peninsula as a colonial power for 50 years (although in fairness, today's Japan is no the one of Hirohito and Tojo, but Shinzo Abe is fairly hawkish, so I'm worried about what he or a future PM like him would do.)
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Well they have shown surprising restraint with Taiwan IMO.
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 03:42 PM by Rex
Based on how China in historical times dealt with 'enemies', I'm impressed. Must have something to do with being the oldest civilization on the planet. I'd be very worried too if they invaded NK, but what will America say? At least they invaded a neighbor and not some far off land like Iraq.

I think our Leader is at his weakest point in his 8 years of rule.
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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. To be honest, a Chinese invasion today would actually be good for NK
Because it would eliminate Kim Jong Il. And unlike the U.S. in Iraq, China has ana atrocious human rights record, so those pesky Geneva Coventions should stop China from brutally repressing any possible insurgency with Abu Ghraib-like tactics. But if it happens AFTER Kim Jong Il dies and NK is ready to topple or reunify with the south, then it would be a problem.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Another Tibet is better than the current North Korea.
Reunification with South Korea is preferable.
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Yes, NKs leader is killing his own people for his own personal goals.
People starve to death daily in NK. Anything is better then their current condition. Well a war with America would be worse. Hopefully the RW has ONE braincell in those heads and won't go off half cocked.
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nealmhughes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
4. What a ridiculous question. It is like asking if Scotland and England
should be part of the U.K. Or if there should be two capitals for Germany, one in Bonn and one in East Berlin. Of course they should be reunified.

We have no idea how much Kim actually trusts his party and military apparatus and vice versa. Cults of personality seem to disintegrate fairly easily over time...Enver Hoxha, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc. come to mind...

One morning enough people will wake up and enough of them whisper the forbidden dream and soon there will be a movement, even if underground...just waiting for the blow to strike.

Nobody cried for Caligula or Nero did they?
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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. It's not ridiculous to ask
Economics might make reunification (near-term at least) unlikely. And the north and south have been split for more than half a century, longer than East and West Germany were split. They also have a more heavily-guarded border. In cultural and economic terms, the two Koreas may have become so different over the last 50 years, that reunification may be easier said than done.
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Solo_in_MD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Ask the some of the Scots about being in the UK
and you might be surprised about what you get for an answer...
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Ignacio Upton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Scotland's unification was basically a shot-gun marriage
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 03:47 PM by Ignacio Upton
And the Scottish are the abused wife. They only reluctantly went with England for mostly economic reasons (ie. the Darien Scheme to build a colony in Panama collapsed miserably, and because such a large portion of the country's wealth was invested in that quixotic effort to build a colonial empire, Scotland was in deep shit economically-speaking.) They also shared the same royal blood-line for a century by the time the Act of Union was passed in 1707. I should also note that I'm of Scottish descent.
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
11. Reunification is the ROK policy
I don't think China is as opposed to it as the US and Japan. S.Korea is on very good terms with China, both distrust and resent the Japanese immensely. If Korea were unified, there is no reason for US military presence.
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MikeNearMcChord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I think that the issue is best left to the Korean people
I resent the idea that outsiders think they know better, than those who live there. Especially the US whose relationship with Korea, is only 50+ years.
We should've left Korea years ago and let the chips fall where they may, besides I don't think those in the ROK would go up there with chips on their shoulders, but look as them as fellow citizens who needs help.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. SK wanted to open the border but
the Busholini Regime pressured them not to do so.
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