Could North and South Korea Ever Reunite?

korea split dmzThe idea of a unified Korea has been discussed openly by both sides for decades. The latest talks happened in October 2013 when key advisers of Kim Jong Un visited South Korea unification minister in Seoul. However, nothing came out from this appointment and there are still tensions between the 2 nations.

So, are there any chances of reunification between the two Koreas? The current lines dividing north and south were drawn at the end of WW2 by the US and the Soviet Union. The border was meant to be temporary, but the two sides have been separated ever since. In 1992, North and South Korea made the first steps towards unification. No progress was made, and the plans were dismissed during the following years. This was followed up by meetings between the two countries in 1990, 2000, and 2007.

Unification was a topic both countries were interested in the past. Why has it happened? There is a chance that North Korea might not actually want to unify anymore. In fact, they may still see South Korea as an enemy. They allegedly sank a South Korean navy vessel and have fired artillery at South Korea with more than one occasion. Kim Jong Un may not be open to relinquishing power, evidently in fact that he executed his only uncle and top advisor to eliminate any challenges to his power. Such thing obviously does not fit well with South Korea.

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The economy is another topic that may not be favorable for reunification. A new report sais that it may cost South Korea $500 billion to unify these nations and they will be forced to take on North Korea’s much weaker economy. In order to everything to work, North Korean national income would have to rise from $1,200 per year up to some $10,000 per year. This is a heavy toll on public opinion and the reason for unification was pushed in the past. In 1994, a poll showed 92% South Koreans were favorable for reunification. A follow up in 2007, showed this number shrank to 64%. In 2010, only 49% of South Koreans considered the reunification is still a good idea.

The young population, those who will eventually be in power, are worried they have to support the burden of the reunification. Not only because of the money but also because of the tremendous differences between the cultures these countries have. They recognise that North Korea has developed into a much different place than modern days South Korea.

Despite all of these problems, there is still one way the reunification can still happen, but this would involve the collapse of North Korea. This would present the opportunity for South Korea with help from international allies such as UN and the US to take over the failed nation.

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