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Unification will become ‘big bonanza’ only with thorough preparation

Unification will become ‘big bonanza’ only with thorough preparation

Posted January. 07, 2014 06:15,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


In her New Year’s press conference on Monday, President Park Geun-hye presented the establishment of foundation for a reunified Korean Peninsula era as a key goal of state administration for her second year in office. Unification is the Korean people’s cherished aspiration and the surest way to secure peace on the Korean Peninsula. Chances are high that unification could come through sudden collapse of the North Korean regime like the case of Germany, rather than through compromise between the two Koreas. For this reason, South Korea should steadfastly make preparations from now, although it is impossible to predict when reunification will come.

The two Koreas have been separated for the 69th year. Since most South Koreans were born after the separation, there is an emerging tendency that South Koreans accept divided Koreas as a reality. In a survey conducted late last year by the youth policy research center at the Yeouido Institute under the ruling Saenuri Party, 47.3 percent of college students replied “unification is not necessary.” College students who replied “unification is necessary” were slightly more at 52.4 percent. North Korea claims “Between the Korean People” in its rhetoric, but has brainwashed the North Koreans as “Kim Il Sung people” in reality, dampening the homogeneity of the Korean people.

President Park said, “I think unification is a big bonanza,” in expressing her commitment to unification. The Hyundai Economic Institute predicted last year that a reunified Korea will become the world’s ninth largest economy around 2050. International organizations and experts predict that with a population of 75 million, Korea will emerge as a leading nation in the world. Jim Rogers, a world renowned investment expert, said that if integration of the two Koreas begins, he would invest his entire wealth, amounting to at least 300 million U.S. dollars. Unification is needed not only for Korea to overcome separation but also for the country to take a leap forward.

Some raise concern about costs for unification, but costs stemming from separation are bigger. Considering security concern arising from confrontation between the two Korea, and “Korea discount” of the national economy, the path we must take is too obvious. Only when the public and the government share recognition that happiness and benefits expected after unification are far larger than pain and costs from division, then will Korea come closer to unification.

Resolution of North North’s nuclear weapons, which President Park noted as a barrier to ushering in the era of a unified Korea, is also uncertain. When it comes to unification, we have no other choice but to make thorough preparations and tirelessly strive to achieve. Park offered the North to hold reunions of separated families ahead of Seollal, or lunar New Year’s holiday. Since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also said in his New Year’s message last Wednesday, “We most create mood to improve relations between North and South Korea,” Pyongyang is hard pressed not to accept Park’s offer. In order for the two Koreas to establish foundation for unification, efforts should be made to recover homogeneity of the Korean people through expansion of humanitarian aid to the North.