Due mainly to its unique geopolitical location, surrounded by large, aggressive and ambitious neighbors, China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Manchuria and more recently the neighbor across the Pacific, the United States, the history of Korea that is four thousand years old had been tumultuous to say the least.
The country had been invaded, occupied, colonialized by all of these neighbors, while the Korea has never in its history ever invaded any of these neighbors. It may also represent tenacity of the people of Korea that in spite of these thousand years of troublesome and cruel foreign invasions, the people and the country had been able to maintain its national, ethnic and cultural identities.
The evolution of modern Korea was no exception; hegemonies over the peninsula had been contested between, China, Russia and Japan, which resulted in the colonialization of the country by Japan, in 1910. The peninsula was their footstep toward the continent. Their ambition died in 1945 with the end of the World War II.
However, it brought to the peninsula the beginning of another international conflict, the cold war between the U.S. and Soviet Russia, which divided the country into North and South and as to be expected, the Korean War, a war of proxy between the two world powers. The armistice was signed between the U.S. and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea=DPRK) in 1953, but the peace treaty promised was never materialized, thus to this date, the enmity exists between the two countries, making the country of South Korea (Republic of Korea=ROK) effectively under the U.S. control.
In the past 63 years since the Armistice in Korean peninsula, numerous international efforts were made to bring about the peace and re-unification of the Korean peninsula; United Nations Committees, Six-Party Talks, etc., but none were successful, primarily for the reason that none of the countries involved in the effort really had a true and ardent hope of peninsular reunification; China wants a friendly North Korea dependent on them and as their next door neighbor, a buffer state, the U.S. wants a friendly South Korea dependent on them and providing a base countering the China, and Japan wants divided Korea that will never become strong enough to be their threat.
In the mean-time, in the past half century, the Koreans in the peninsula, as done before in their thousand years of history, established themselves again as formidable entities.
The South has become a thriving country of 45 million, with significant economic power with cutting edge high-tech industry, strong in information technology, ship-building, steel production, fifth in the auto-industry and 11th in the GDP among developed countries. It has also established 0.65 million armed force equipped with highly advanced armament.
The North with 25 million people, in spite of tremendous limitations imposed by mostly, U.S. sanctions, military threats and isolation, has developed into a formidable military power with 1.2 million armed force, air power with 850 planes, the coastal navy however with 85 submarines, some with capabilities of submarine launched ballistic missiles, nuclear weapon system with more than 20 units including hydrogen bombs, missile delivery system including medium range and being very close to having solid fuel, mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), long range artillery system with more than 40,000 placed underground along the DMZ.
With their nuclear deterrence, they have embarked on so called Parallel Plan, placing strong emphasis on economic development. Their GDP presently however, is estimated to be about US $ 30 billion,1/30 of that of the South.
The combined population between the North and South of over 70 million is larger than that of Italy, and combined size of the defense force of 1.75 million places itself as the 4th in the world after, China, India and United States
It appears that the time has come that the ultimate Korean issue; Peace and Re-Unification in Korean Peninsula, can only be achieved by the Koreans themselves, people of both South Korea and North Korea, unencumbered by the surrounding foreign powers, namely, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
Actually, the basic tenet of the principle is delineated in the so called 6-15 Joint Agreement made in June 15, 2,000 between Kim Jong-il of North and Kim Dae-joong of South, in essence the agreement entails the formation of a Confederation between the two governments, each maintaining its own politico-economical ideologies.
For the two Koreas to agree to be re-united, the most important issue must be to erase the enmity between them existing since the Korean War (1950-53). Therefore, the first step would be the establishment of the “Non-Aggression Pact between the two Koreas”.
It will reduce the military stance, defense expenditure and most of all, nullify the foreign presence mostly in the South; U.S. troop withdrawal, return of the war-time military operational control, cancellation of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) base, deactivation of the naval base in Jeju Island, and the idea of U.S.-Japan-ROK Alliance.
The main purpose of “Nuclear Weapons System” and its delivery capabilities of the DPRK is its deterrence against its enemy, the U.S. Any use of nuclear weapon in the peninsula will cause mutual destruction. The North Korea must make this point clear by declaring the elimination of its nuclear threat on the South, and even further declaring that once the Confederation is achieved between the two Koreas, the joint ownership and control of its Nuclear Force could become the reality.
The easiest initial step whereby the two halves of the Korea could begin working together would of course be meeting each other’s humanitarian and economic needs. The South (ROK) should start providing unlimited, free “Food Supply” to the North annually, while the North (DPRK) ships free, “Mineral Resources” that South needs; coal, ores, tungsten, lithium and many other rare earth products, directly by way of its Eastern Sea route.
Kaysung, is a city located in North immediately in the north of the DMZ. A city steeped deeply in the Korean history, but best known until recently as a “Joint Economic, Scientific & Technological Cooperative Zone.” It was here the southern capital and technology fused with northern manpower producing rich rewards. Once the idea of Confederation is realized, immediately steps should be taken to establish multiple such joint ventures, located for example in; Wonsan, Nampo, Ulsan, Chulwon, Inchon and others.
The military of both Koreas, the People’s Army (DPRK) and the National Army (ROK) will become unified in every aspect, and the single national entity could be called “No-Nong Minjokgun” (Agrono-Labor National Corps). It will be consisted of a fully trained, conscripted military personnel of about one million strong, men and women serving equally for the unified Korea for the duration of three(3) years, who will also, serve and contribute to the nation’s agriculture, industry, and other nation-building projects.
“The heads of the two Koreas; the President of the ROK and the Supreme Leader of the DPRK” will meet regularly, biannually and alternately at each other’s capital, Seoul and Pyongyang to supervise the re-unification issues, progression of the agreements and resolution of any contentious matters.
Eventually, the re-unified Korea will declare itself “Permanent Neutrality”, a necessity given its geopolitical location. However, by arming itself formidably by maintaining a massive and strong, high-tech defensive force, i.e., it will guarantee it’s own neutrality by itself, not by its neighbors, as is the case with Austria or Switzerland. In other words, it will no longer be a country surrounded by big four powers, but one of the big five powers, never-the-less located at the center, surveying and watching its four neighbors.
“City of Koreana”; a new city symbolizing the emergence of the re-unified Korea, could be built on the area called “Iron Triangle”, near DMZ, the land that reminds the Koreans of the sad history of division, war, destruction and foreign control:
Koreana will base Korea’s nuclear arsenal jointly owned and controlled,
Koreana will house the Senate of the Confederate Korea elected by the representatives of the professional organizations from both Koreas, south and north,
Koreana will house the President of the Confederate Korea, elected from and by the Overseas Koreans,
Koreana will house a graduate level university designed to produce nation’s elite intellectuals,
Koreana will allow dual citizenship to any qualified foreigners.
Moon J. Pak, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice-President, Korean American National Coordinating Council (KANCC)
811Oakwood Drive #201
Rochester, MI 48307