Updated February. 06, 2014 06:43
Germany was reunified by West Germany unilaterally absorbing East Germany. If taking a look at the process, you would find that it was because East Germans chose their country to be incorporated into West Germany rather than to take a step-by-step reunification, which takes much time. In East Germanys first free elections on March 18, 1990, the Alliance for Germany led by the Christian Democratic Union of Germany that pledged to push for an early reunification by absorbing five states of East Germany in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Act of West Germany had a landslide victory by winning 192 seats. In contrast, the Social Democratic Party that opposed a swift reunification and proposed a referendum for the enactment of reunification constitution secured only 88 seats. As a result, the state council of East Germany passed a resolution on Aug. 23, 1990 that East Germany would be incorporated into West Germany effective as of Oct. 3, 1990.
With the abrupt fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, East Germans were exposed to prosperity and freedom enjoyed by West Germans. They aspired for East Germany to become like West Germany as soon as possible. Then-West German Prime Minister Helmut Kohl proposed in November 1989 a 10-phase reunification plan which pursues a federal system after going through a treaty-based community and a federation of nations, but it was not sufficient to turn the tide.
Democratic Party Chairman Kim Han-gil said Wednesday, (We) oppose absorption reunification because it would cause a great deal of turbulence and costs that our society can hardly afford. He added, (We) will pursue a peaceful and gradual reunification through North Korea engagement policies. Although he cited the case of Germany, it is questionable if he knew that East Germans voluntarily wanted their country to be incorporated into West Germany when he was making the remarks. People need to think in a realistic and objective manner if the North Korea policies sought by the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations would get supports from both South and North Koreans when the reunification is in the near distance.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would want to maintain the kingdom founded by his grandfather Kim Il Sung as long as possible, but reality is likely to unfold against his will. Although East Germany was the wealthiest country in East Europe, it failed to overcome his systemic contradictions and collapsed by itself. The same may occur on the Korean peninsula. Whatever method it is, South Korea needs to be prepared for the collapse of North Korea. U.S. State Secretary John Kerry officially announced on Feb. 1 that he would discuss North Korean issues including the reunification of Korea during his visit to China. This reflects that situations in North Korea are critical. South Korea should also start active discussion on reunification.
Germany had to go through trials and errors because they were not prepared for reunification. It cost the country about two trillion euros at maximum for the next two decades after reunification. However, the fact that he emerged as one of the strongest countries in Europe justifies everything. Reunification is not something that can come early or be put off as you wish. Korea should provide against all possibilities and make thorough preparations.