Toward a One Korea

The basic steps of reunification

by Serban V.C. Enache

The following article is fairly subjective. Feel free to disagree and criticize.

Necessary context. The Korean peninsula is a buffer zone between China and the United States. While it may come as a shock to most, political elites in North Korea had to manoeuvre both diplomatically and militarily to secure independence, or something akin to sovereignty, from both Washington and Beijing. For the North, self-preservation in this new epoch dictates capital changes to traditional policy. Ditto for the South, who profits in no way from further conflict escalation.

China and the US have to agree to support (or at least tolerate) a process of Korean reunification. Many will disagree, but I believe in order to secure full sovereignty, given the geopolitical context, the peninsula would need to hang on to offensive nuclear capabilities. However, a singular (united) nuclear Korea is a highly implausible scenario. Japan, the US, and China would be very much opposed to it – for good reason too if you look at it from their own vantage points.

Toward a unified economy

Internal free trade zone between the two Koreas. That means the free movement of labor and capital.

Harmonization of taxes, regulations, criminal laws and the court systems between the two Governments.

Have in place a surplus recycling mechanism.

If the North runs a trade deficit against the South, the Southern Government must recycle those funds in the North (in a transparent manner as per the negotiation’s provisions), to make the northern region able to keep absorbing southern output. Similarly, if the North runs a trade surplus against the South, the Northern Government must recycle those funds in the South, to make the southern region able to keep absorbing Northern output. In this manner, demand leakages are plugged. Workers continue to work, firms continue to sell and produce, households continue to purchase and consume. A constant healthy money velocity is ensured and liquidity slumps and bankruptcies are avoided or kept to a minimum.

Toward political union (federalism)

I cannot stress this enough. Complete and total amnesty for the North Korean state and party hierarchy and its political prisoners. Judicial use of mercy today will secure justice tomorrow, and it will also ensure political stability and public tranquility.

The Intelligence services of the two Koreas need to be merged and brought under a single (civilian) authority.

The Military branches of the two Koreas need to be merged and brought under a single (civilian) authority.

I do not advocate a single currency area, whether it involves the North adopting the South’s currency, or both countries adopting an entirely new one. Currency unions without political unions DO NOT work. The Euro-zone is a living testament of that, and their model (of neoliberal economics, political unaccountability, and removal of popular sovereignty) should not be emulated by anyone.

The final steps for achieving political union? A singular Treasury and Central Bank, one Parliament and one currency.

It’s strange for a pessimist atheist like me to say the following, but I feel like saying it for I believe the Korean peoples’ civic spirit to be far more advanced than those of other nations… The peoples of South and North, high and low, need to dream a single dream and fight for it. They need to fight the forces of division from within and from without – for only devils work to foster disunity. They must struggle. They must dream and believe it. The dream of a one Korea, a sovereign nation state, home to all its children. For the dead! For the living! For the unborn!

Serban V.C. Enache is a Romanian journalist and indie author. Though interested in history, politics, and economics, his true passion is for medieval fantasy fiction. He can be reached over Twitter.