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재미 | Calls for a tri-party summit at Pyongyang

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작성자 편집국 작성일18-10-02 06:52 댓글0건

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Calls for a tri-party summit at Pyongyang

=Working out a One Korea Concept=

 

By Moon J. Pak

(September 2018)

 

 

The year 2018 has been an epochal year for the Korean peninsula, in which the world has observed leaders of the two Koreas take deliberate steps to end the nearly 70-year old division of the country.

 

In North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK), the era began with the emergence in North Korea of Chairman Kim Jong-un, succeeding his (deceased) father Kim Jong-Il.

 

In the South, President Moon Jae-in was elected in the spring of 2017. His election came after the so-called Candlelight Revolution, during which hundreds of thousands of Koreans in cities across the country took to the streets with candles in peaceful demonstrations every night for many weeks in an effort to remove the conservative, corrupt regime of President Park Geun-hye. 

 

One additional benefit during this era is the presence of Donald J. Trump in the White House; although he often appears unpredictable, on matters pertaining to Korea, he has proven to be a rational and useful partner in the cause of peace.

 

The decision of the North to participate in the Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang, South Korea in early 2018 led to a cascade of positive diplomatic events between the two Koreas and also between the U.S. and North Korea that were not even imaginable a year ago.

 

The first event following the Olympics was the summit meeting between Moon and Kim in the village of Panmunjom, located in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that produced the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27. The five points of the Declaration opened a new era of peace and reconciliation between the two Koreas, however, the symbolic image of the two leaders embracing each other and crossing the border between the two Koreas added profound meaning to the event.

 

On June 12, the second historic summit was held at Singapore, this time between Trump and Kim. As in the first summit, the visual image of a friendly encounter between the two leaders, and the flags of the two countries shown together had significant impact. The brief agreements that came out of the meeting amounted to a promise for eventual denuclearization of the North and pledge to officially end the state of war between the two countries that has existed for nearly 70 years since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

 

After a series of diplomatic communications between Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang, a third summit meeting was held on September 18 in Pyongyang between Moon and Kim that resulted in the Joint Agreement between the two Koreas. This agreement laid the groundwork for multiple specific concepts, projects, and routes of cooperation and communication. Recent images of the two leaders communicating with each other, and the ardent acceptance of the South Korean President and First Lady by the general North Korean public, were profound and created a mood of optimism among all the Koreans.

 

In reviewing the multiple agreements produced from the three summits, it is obvious that all the agreements, even those of the North and South, will depend in some form on the approval and/or cooperation of the U.S. Thus, there is now a call from both Koreas for another summit between Kim and Trump!

 

It is however, the considered opinion of many that the next diplomatic dialogue should be a tri-party summit with Kim, Moon and Trump. The location would preferably be Pyongyang, with Trump presiding.  With this structure, and with all parties at the table, decision-making would be quicker.  In having Trump preside, the hope is that he would be more invested in having a successful summit, and therefore more inclined to make concessions and adjustments needed in the U.S. position.

 

The expected outcome of a tri-party summit would be a resolution to normalize the international relationship between the U.S. and DPRK. This agreement could also cover peninsular denuclearization, removal of sanctions on the North and a peace treaty between the two countries. This type of broad agreement would open the door for the realization of a “One Korea Concept” between the two Koreas, which was so dramatically presented at the summits of the two Koreas held April 17 and September 18.

 

Reunification of the Korean peninsula is not achievable simply by having both leaders walking across the DMZ together, and many of the agreements now proposed will undergo real implementation challenges, even though the proposals are excellent, idealistic and well thought-out.

 

Likewise, bringing a people who are united in their 4,000-year history and common ethnicity, yet divided by two generations of complete physical division, and by drastically different political and economic systems, is admittedly a tricky prospect.

 

In addition to their vast differences, both nations have their own merits and shortcomings. The time may be right to compare and evaluate both systems with the goal of developing a new unified concept, uniquely suitable and beneficial to both Koreas – a true “One Korea Concept”.

 

Economic changes:

 

In their economiesboth Koreas must initiate change if they wish to eventually coalesce. There is, of course, great discrepancies between the size of the economies of the two Koreas; South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) is 30 times greater than North Korea’s. Although the North will have to bring about greater changes, the answer may not be a South Korean-style capitalist model, or a Chinese model. 

 

Similarly, systemic economic changes in the South should be in the direction of the socialistic system of North, however, South Korea should maintain profit incentives while eliminating extreme income discrepancies and the corruptive influence of its giant privately-held companies, or “chaebols”.

 

 

Political changes:

 

Compromising the two drastically different political systems of both Koreas is seemingly impossible, but there is some room for change, especially in the North.  Its one-party, family-rule system will not change, but the tight vertical control of the government with its few horizontal incentives will have to change, at a minimum, to accommodate the changes needed in its economic system. Eventually, a democratic system based on representation of occupations/professions may replace the current party system in the North and South, thus abolishing politics as a profession. Switzerland’s government achieves representation of its people in government by having various professional or occupational organizations associated with the legislative structure – this is a model worth looking at.

 

Education system changes:

 

Education is another area where the two Koreas could successfully develop a uniform single system.  The North has a state-controlled merit-based system, where education is provided fully by the state with no individual financial obligation for students, not even cost of room and board.   The quality of higher education is largely uniform except for a few specialized institutions. The prerequisite for admission as well as the competition for admission is determined by the state, based on the perceived need for that particular profession by the state. 

 

The youth work force:

 

The standing army (which in North Korea is a standing youth work force as well) of each side must be unified also. The North has 1.2 million-armed youth and South has 650,000. The combined force of 1.85 million makes it the fifth largest military in the world (after India, China, the U.S. and Russia).

 

A unified Korea could recruit all of its men and women between age 18-22 for military and non-military service, which would total a force of about 2.5 million. I suggest that all youth serve for the country for two years in the fields of military, agriculture or industry. For those who are not properly educated or trained, the two-year time span could be used for education, or skilled professions so that no one after this two-year time of mandatory service remain jobless or unemployed.

 

A goal of a highly-educated work force begs the question about jobs for low-skilled workers. To supplement the labor force, a unified Korea could bring transient laborers from other countries, such as the Philippines, China, and Vietnam. The U.S., China, Japan, and other countries have done this, with varying degrees of success. The goal would be to provide short-term contracts for foreign workers, and to raise in turn, the quality of life and level of education for the Koreans.

 

Being surrounded by the four world powers, China, Japan, Russia and U.S., the unified Korea must maintain an effective, strong and efficient national defense system. It should be highly technically oriented, with an emphasis on an aerospace force, an oceangoing navy, and an open and defensive nuclear weapons base.  

 

Health care changes: 

 

Currently, there is a great gap in the quality of the health care system between the two Koreas, however this reflects the economic discrepancy between the two nations.  The gap will lessen as the economies merge. In principle, and in terms of accessibility of care, the North’s system is superior, since it is not based on any financial incentives.

 

Population changes: 

 

Lastly, a word should be said about the population, and the interesting trend at present of the two Koreas. The South has a population of roughly 45 million and is declining due to a low birth rate, following the trend of Japan. The North has a population of 25 million, and both the birth rate, and growth rate are stable. The combined population of 70 million is about the same as Italy. However, Korea is surrounded by countries whose total population amounts to nearly 70 percent of world’s total. A unified Korea must aim to increase its total population to at least 150 million in within its next generation.

 

=The End=

 

(Korean Quarterly: Fall, 2018, VOL.21, NUM 05)

 

 

 

Moon J. Pak is a physician specializing in internal medicine, and is the senior vice-president of

Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC), a non-profit organization that facilitates exchanges between Korean Americans and North Koreans.

 

Oakwood Medical Center

811 Oakwood Drive, #201

Rochester, Michigan 48307

 

mjpak1000@yahoo.com

(Cell. 248-894-3064)

[이 게시물은 편집국님에 의해 2018-10-02 06:52:53 새 소식에서 복사 됨]
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