THE REUNIFICATION OF NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA

INTRODUCTION:

In year 1910, the Empire of Japan ruled Korea until the end of World War II in year 1945.On December 1 1943 when Great Britain, China and the United states signed the Cairo Conference that stated “The aforesaid three powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that “in due course” Korea shall become free and independent, the Korean independence agreement officially occurred (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013).

After the end of World War II, two army lieutenant colonels arbitrarily selected the 38th parallel as the dividing line. As a result, north zone was administrated by Soviet Union and south zone was administrated by the United States. Originally this was not a long-term partition .However, the Cold War politics resulted in the establishment of the two separate governments in year 1948 and the tensions began. One of the important parts of the tensions is Korean War, when Democratic People Republic of Korea(North Korea) invading Republic of Korea (South Korea) in June 1950. After the three year fighting with each other, the war ended with armistice agreement at approximate same boundary (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013).

The relations between the two Koreas have been strained in recent years due to the provocative actions taken under the Kim Dynasty (such as suspected torpedoing of South Korea Cheonan, bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island and rocket launches in April and December 2012). The sudden accession of Kim Jong Un, the third generation of Kim family and his limited experience of governing have stoked fears about the struggles of the power among different factors that lead to future instability on the Korean Peninsula(Wikimedia Foundation,2013) .

Therefore, the reunification of the both Koreas remains a long-term goal for the governments.  In Kim Jong Un’s 2012 New year speech, he mentioned that he called to “remove confrontation” between the two countries and implement previous joint agreements for increased economic and political cooperation.

THESIS STATEMENT:

In this research paper, I am going to explain about my opinion for the reunification of Koreas. We all know that the reunification of two Koreas needs a lot of time because the governments of the both sides have to work hard in order to make the reunification become successful.

ARGUMENTS

1.      NORTH KOREA MUST PUT DOWN ALL TENSIONS

I am going to explain why the reunification of both Koreas need a lot of time. First of all, the North Korea must put down all of the tensions and attack that targeted country is South Korea. In recent years, North Korea had held some missions that targeted South Korea such as torpedoing of Cheonan (BBC,2010) and bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island (BBC, 2010). Besides that, North Korea also had two rocket launches (BBC, 2012). These missions not only caused the world attention but it also made the relations between both Koreas become worse. In addition, North Korea had conducted three nuclear tests (BBC, 2013).  This also caused 2013 North Korea crisis that marked by actions suggesting imminent nuclear attacks against South Korea, Japan, and the United States (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013).

Over the years, North Korea has made the attention from leaders from the entire world like the United States, China, Japan and the European Union. For example, Caitlin Hayden, spokeswomen for the National Security Council of the United States said that they will take some serious action to against the threat of North Korea (Wikimedia, Foundation, 2013). In order to make the reunification process faster, North Korea must stop all of the tensions and have some peace talk with South Korea so that the relation between two Koreas will become better. If the relation between two Koreas is in a good condition, the reunification process will faster and many years later the two Koreas will become an country like before World War II.

2. NORTH KOREA MUST ADAPT SOUTH KOREA CULTURE AND ECONOMY

North Korea and South Korea are same ethnic. However, due to the different political system, way of thinking, and lifestyle concept both Koreas have a lot of cultural differences (Hujiang.com , 2011,translated from Chinese).

Festivals in North Korea are mainly political events. One of the important events is the “The Great Leader” Kim Il Sung’s birthday or “Sun Day” (Hujiang.com , 2011,translated from Chinese). Other festivals in North Korea are Labour Day, Anniversary of the Army Force and Anniversary of North Korea Communist Party (Worker’s Party). While in South Korea, the festivals are more on cultural like Korean New Year (similar to Chinese New Year), Mid-Autumn Festival and Qiming Festival(Hujiang.com ,2011,translated from Chinese). The festivals in South Korea are almost same as the festivals in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In the era of globalisation, many countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and etc. has adapted the cultures that come from other countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and etc. Citizens in these countries not only create their own popular culture like K-Pop music, Korean dramas and movies(KOCIS,2013) but popular brands like Nike, McDonalds, Levi’s and Sony has entered their mind. However, in North Korea which is a communist country the citizens do not know about these global brands because the country is isolated for a long time. Even some people in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea like to follow the “hallyu”(South Korean pop culture), these behaviour is considered as illegal(Noori,2012). Therefore, there a lot of cultural differences between North and South Korea.

Other than that, the economy situation in North Korea is worse than the economy situation in East Germany before German reunification (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013). The income per capita ratio (PPP) was about 3:1 in Germany (US$25,000 for the West, about US$8,500 for the East). The ratio is close to 18:1 in Korea (in 2011: US$31,700 for the South, US$1,800 for the North) (Wikimedia Foundation, 2013). The isolation policy in North Korea stated that the international trade is highly restricted. Thus, the economy in North Korea is almost government-planned compare to South Korea, which market economy ranks 15th in the world(Wikimedia Foundation, 2013).

So, if North Korea wants reunite with South Korea, North Korea must adapt the culture and the economy of South Korea so that both Koreas have almost same culture and economy.

3. NORTH KOREA MUST IMPROVE THE LIVING STANDARDS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Besides two arguments that I mentioned above, North Korea also must improve the living standard of their citizens as well as the human rights. According to a research group based on Seoul, the living standard of North Korea has been deteriorated to an extreme level (Newman, 2013). Inflation in North Korea may be as high as 100 percent because of the mismanagement of the currency in the country.

North Korea is one of the countries that need urgently food assistance (A vu, 2009). The country has depended on food assistance since 1990. Like other dictatorship countries, the country has an elite class which enjoys the basic privileges of a modern life such as meat, automobile, coffee, internet and some luxury items. Meanwhile for middle class, they have some basic needs such as food and clothes (Newman, 2013).

However, majority of North Koreans are living in poor condition. Based on some videos that filmed by North Korea undercover journalists, many people in North Korea were  having deteriorated living standards and seeking help for food (Ryall , 2010).

The human rights in North Korea are also totally restricted. There is no right to have freedom of speech. Therefore, television, radio, and print media are totally controlled by government (Human Rights Watch, 2013).Unauthorized access to non-state radio or television like South Korea television channels is seriously punished (Human Rights Watch, 2013). Those who do that will be sent into the “Labor Camp” or five years of “correction labor” (Amnesty International USA, 2013).

Other than that, North Korea is one of the few nations that are not a member of Labour Organization (LO). The country’s only trade union organization. the General Federation of Trade Unions of Korea was totally controlled by the Communist Party of the country(Worker’s Party).

The judiciary in North Korea is not independent. The government tightly appoints and controls the judge, prosecutors, lawyers and jury members.  In some cases that considered as “political crimes”, after some questioning they are either executed or sent into the “labor camp” (Human Rights Watch, 2013).

Therefore, North Korea must improve their citizens living standards and human rights because these are the important elements for a faster reunification with South Korea.

CONCLUSION

As a conclusion, the reunification of North and South Korea needs a lot of time. North Korea must do something better for economy and human rights like China’s economic reform because if they do economic and social reform, the South Korea will happily work with North Korea and make the reunification process faster. Furthermore, North Korea government must allow their citizens to get foreign news, television programmes and music especially South Korea so that the citizens can know more about outside world. North Korea also has to change their “totally communist” mind and work with some countries like the United Kingdom and Hong Kong so that the economy and living standards will improve.

North Korea also has to work with other countries than China so that the government of North Korea can learn about the economic, politics and social in other countries and apply what they known in managing North Korea. Besides that, Both North and South Korea must put down all tensions and have some peace talks in order to have a good relation between each other. If these happens, North Korea and South Korea can combine together to become a Korean Peninsula with one government, better economic and social as well as the human rights.

REFERENCES:

Amnesty International USA. (2013). North Korea. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Amnesty International: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/north-korea

KOCIS. (2013). Korean Wave. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Korea.net: http://www.korea.net/Government/Current-Affairs/Korean-Wave?affairId=209

BBC . (2013, February 12). North Korea’s nuclear tests. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17823706

BBC. (2010, November 23). North Korean artillery hits South Korean island‎. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-11818005

BBC. (2012, April 13). North Korea rocket launch fails. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17698438

BBC. (2013, December 17). North Korea profile. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15278612

Hujiang.com. (2011, January 24). The Cultural Difference between North and South Korea(translated). Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Hujiang.com: http://kr.hujiang.com/new/p138094/

Human Rights Watch. (2013). North Korea. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from World Human Rights 2013: http://www.hrw.org/world-report/2013/country-chapters/north-korea

Newman, R. (2013, April 12). Here’s How Lousy Life Is in North Korea. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from U.S News and World Report: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/rick-newman/2013/04/12/heres-how-lousy-life-is-in-north-korea

Noori. (2012, August 8). Korean Wave is Flourishing in North Korea. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from koreaBang: http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/korean-wave-is-flourishing-in-north-korea-says-report.html

Ryall, J. (2010, November 28). North Korea’s undercover journalists reveal misery of life in dictatorship. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/8165274/North-Koreas-undercover-journalists-reveal-misery-of-life-in-dictatorship.html

Wikimedia Foundation. (2013, December 23). 2013 Korean crisis. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_North_Korean_crisis

Wikimedia Foundation. (2013, December 18). 2013 North Korean nuclear test. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_North_Korean_nuclear_test

Wikimedia Foundation. (2013). Economy of South Korea. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Wikipedia Topics: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Economy_of_South_Korea.html

Wikimedia Foundation. (2013, December 15). Korean Reunification. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_reunification

Wikimedia Foundation. (2013, December 20). North Korea. Retrieved December 23, 2013, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_People%27s_Republic_of_Korea

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