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  • Unification is way down the road,

  • so that's the ultimate goal that everyone says they want,

  • but no one thinks they're very close to that.

  • (delicate music)

  • South Korea is so much wealthier, more powerful,

  • it's just a totally different type of country

  • than North Korea now that it's hard to imagine them

  • unifying in any sort of easy way.

  • Society's have grown so far apart, so I think that the

  • South Koreans would see North Korea as a burden,

  • they'd have to invest an enormous amount of money

  • to rebuild North Korea, reeducate,

  • or at least deal with the costs of unification.

  • We have a country essentially living in a dark period

  • where they have very little internet access.

  • It's not like any other country in the world;

  • North Korea is one of the most isolated, closed off,

  • totalitarian societies in the world.

  • South Korea, on the flip side, is one of the most open,

  • free, technologically savvy societies in the world.

  • So, to combine those seems almost unbelievable,

  • especially the younger generations

  • in both countries have really no memory

  • of any connection between the two sides.

  • There's not a huge amount of popular support

  • in South Korea for unification.

  • People talk about it as it's something that's great,

  • but they I think recognize how different the countries are

  • and how unbelievably costly and difficult

  • an actual unification would be.

  • The main obstacles, I think, are North Korea's difficult

  • relations with all the other countries besides South Korea,

  • and that includes the United States and China.

  • The real sticking point is that technically

  • the United States and North Korea are still

  • in an armed conflict, meaning that the end of the Korean War

  • it was just a ceasefire, they never really

  • formally resolved all the issues from that war.

  • And so that's why US troops are still in South Korea,

  • and that's why they're all pretty much

  • on armed alert, they could fight at any time.

  • Resolving those sort of international complications

  • is really the bigger obstacle, much less getting

  • to the question of what the Koreas want from each other.

  • Unification is way down the road,

  • so that's the ultimate goal that everyone says they want,

  • but no one thinks they're very close to that.

  • I think what they would want is de-escalation.

  • Maybe everyone agrees to take down their nukes.

  • The US is ready- removed all nuclear weapons

  • from South Korea and the idea North Koreans

  • would shut down their nuclear program.

  • And then, some sort of peace agreement with the

  • United States, and then everyone starts pulling back

  • their troops from the demilitarized zone,

  • so that not everyone's ready to shoot at a moment's notice.

  • Only at that point can they really talk

  • about some sort of unification.

  • I think regular exchanges where they start

  • opening up travel between North Korea and South Korea.

  • They've done some cooperative projects

  • where they have these sort of peace zones

  • where they- South Koreans build stuff

  • and North Koreans and South Koreans can

  • sort of work together in some small zones.

  • I think that's what we can imagine happening

  • after the nuclear crisis is solved.

  • Unification is just something-

  • it seems unlikely that could happen anytime in the near

  • future unless North Korea just collapses for some reason.

  • We don't have a lot of precedence for this,

  • the best example for us in recent history

  • is the unification of West Germany

  • and East Germany in the early 90's.

  • In that situation essentially East Germany was,

  • basically, swallowed up by West Germany

  • and I think that would be pretty simple.

  • Reason why that doesn't seem likely to happen though

  • is because China has a strong interest in maintaining

  • a separate country in North Korea

  • that's not just swallowed up by South Korea.

  • And that's one of the biggest differences

  • between East Germany and West Germany

  • and North Korea and South Korea.

  • The Russians, or the Soviet Union, no longer cared

  • whether East Germany became part of West Germany,

  • but the Chinese still care and they can make a big

  • difference in preserving North Korea as a separate country.

  • (delicate music)

Unification is way down the road,

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How North And South Korea Could Reunite

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    Samuel posted on 2018/03/29
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