Unification of Korea: Should It be Done? 

By Yungju

 

Screen Shot 2019-07-15 at 3.00.55 PMKorea has two names: “North Korea” and “South Korea”. 

Korea is called as two names due to division which has caused countless people to apart with their friends as well as families. 

People in North and South can’t visit each country for life just because they live in another land, which was once one.

Fortunately, signs of unification are showing recently, as the division is becoming a controversial issue. Unification seems to become a reality thanks to the Inter-Korean summit as well as the U.S. and North Korea summit held in 2018. Moreover, both North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in pledged to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” at Panmunjom. 

With the rapid and huge improvement about the possibility of unification, a dispute among the people is rising over whether unification will be beneficial to all. I believe that unification should not be achieved yet.

Why is so? 

The two major problems are politics and the economy.

Currently, two leaders are each in South Korea and North Korea. If both two regions were to be unified, one president will have to abdicate his political position, or we will have to pick a new, qualified president. 

No matter how unified the two regions will be, people from both side will likely to discriminate the others which will be resulted in inevitable conflicts regardless of whether the president is appointed from the South or the North. This “civil war” would cause confusion in combination with the Political problem.

On top of that, The economic problem is emerging as the most serious problem.

The most basic argument by those who favor reunification is the example of Germany. It is true that Germany was once divided and unified in 1990 and now lives well. But what we need to pay attention to is the period of overcoming the aftereffects of unification. Due to the extreme economic differences between West and East Germany at the time, Germany had not fully overcome the aftereffects until 2006. The 18-year recession seems to be short at first glance, but it becomes serious considering the current economic situation. According to the World Bank, the global economic growth rate is forecast to be 2.9 percent, down 0.1 percent from August 2018, amid rising downside risks. As seen in the figures above, the global economy is slowing down and countries like China and India are rapidly rising to the level of the United States. Under these circumstances, if the economic slowdown continues for 18 years or more through unification while the economy is busy developing, it will deal a serious blow to the nation. In addition, we also have to compare the situation in Germany and Korea. According to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, In 1989, Germany’s GDP gap per person was only 1:3, but the gap between the two Koreas now stands at about 1:20. In addition, North Korea also has a larger population than East Germany, increasing the burden on South Korea when unification happens. Considering these figures again, the negative impact of reunification on South Korea will be unmeasurable.

Of course, Korea should one day achieve reunification in the long run. But what we have to realize is that it’s not the right time yet. When more active exchanges take place in the two countries and designs for the future are made, problems will not arise even if unification is really implemented. Everyone will have to make efforts for better unification.

 

Works Cited

Botto, Kathryn, and Eun A Jo. “The Aftermath of the Third Inter-Korean Summit of
2018.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, carnegieendowment.org/2018/12/30/aftermath-of-third-inter-korean-summit-of-2018-pub-78057. 

Boundless. “Boundless World History.” Lumen, courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-worldhistory/chapter/german-unification. 

Cronin, Patrick. “The Dangers of Korean Unification.” The Diplomat, The Diplomat, 10
Feb. 2011, thediplomat.com/2011/02/the-dangers-of-korean-unification/. 

“History of North Korea.” Liberty in North Korea, www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/learn-north-korea-history/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqaXY2ovC4QIVzAgqCh11qg9rEAAYASAAEgK_QPD_BwE.

“Reunification? Many Young South Koreans Say, ‘Let’s Not.’.” The Christian Science
Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 May 2018, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2018/0503/Reunification-Many-young-South-Koreans-say-Let-s-not.

U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, history.state.gov/countries/issues/german-unification. 

Picture. https://korearanking.tistory.com/254