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[Dr. Kwak] One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization: What Should Be Done?
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[Dr. Kwak] One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization: What Should Be Done?


Date: Dec. 6th 2013 …

Date: Dec. 6th 2013
Session: Northeast Asia Peace: Korean Unification Vision and Peace-Building in Northeast Asia
Speaker: Dr. Tae-Hwan Kwak; Chair-Professor at Kyungman University; Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University, Republic of Korea

Published in News & Politics
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  • 1. One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization: What Should Be Done? By Tae-Hwan Kwak, Ph. D. (Chairman, Institute for Korean Peninsula Future Strategies)
  • 2. <Contents> I. Introduction II. Conflicting Unification Formulae of the Two Koreas III. One Korea Formula through Neutralization Regime Building IV. Strategies for Implementing a Five-Stage Neutralization-Unification Formula V. Conclusion <APPENDIX>
  • 3. Core Arguments: 1. The two Koreas have conflicting unification formulae of the two Koreas. 2. One Korea unification formula through neutralization could be an alternative to the two Koreas’ existing formulae. 3. The roadmap for achieving a five-stage neutralization unification is provided to build one Korean state.
  • 4. I. INTRODUCTION -- Two Koreas on the Korean peninsula: the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(DPRK or North Korea) . The DPRK is a nuclear state, threatening peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia. It is stable under the Kim Jong-un regime -- President Park Keun-hye in February 2013 adopted a new policy toward North Korea known as “the Korean Peninsula trust-building process,” to improve hostile inter-Korean relations. -- The ROK and the DPRK have different unification formulae: the “Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo” (DFRK) formula of North Korea and the “Korean National Community” (KNC) unification formula of South Korea. Because of conflicting unification formulae, an alternative to the existing unification formulae of the two Koreas is thus desirable. -- The two Koreas need to agree on a common unification formula. The author has proposed that a common Korean unification formula through neutralization be considered as an alternative to the conflicting unification formulae of the two Korean states.
  • 5. II. Conflicting Unification Formulae of the Two Koreas The DPRK’s unification formula: Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo (DFRK) • Kim Il Sung set forth the DFRK plan in his report to the Sixth Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea on 10 October, 1980. Kim claimed that it was “the most realistic and shortest way to realize Korea’s reunification on the basis of the three principles of independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity.” Kim spelled out the basic features of the DFRK’s formula, its composition and functions, and the ten-point policy that should be carried out by the federal government.
  • 6. The DFRK’s formula is a federal (originally translated as confederate in English) system in which the two regional governments can coexist under one roof, i.e., a Supreme National Federal Assembly (SNFA) and a Federal Standing Committee (FSC) are the unified government of the federal state. The SNFA should be formed with an equal number of representatives from the North and the South and an appropriate number of representatives of overseas Koreans. The FSC, a unified government, would guide the regional governments in the North and the South and administer all affairs of the federal state. Kim Il Sung in a speech on 9 September, 1983, said, “It would be reasonable that as the unified government of the federal state, the supreme national federal assembly and the federal standing committee elect their respective co-chairman both from the north and south, who will run these bodies in turn”
  • 7. Deficiencies of the DFRK The DFRK’s formula has several structural deficiencies. First, North Korea claims that the DFRK is a complete form of federation, not an interim step to the final federation form in the unification process. In fact, if the DFRK is a final form, the ROK cannot accept it primarily due to the preconditions for implementing it. Second, how long can such a federal state survive? There was no mention about power distribution in a federal state and power sharing between the two regional governments and a central government in a unified Korea. Third, there are at least five preconditions for establishing the DFRK: (1) resignation of the ROK government, (2) abolition of anti-communist policy in the South, (3) elimination of National Security Law in the South, (4) U.S. troop withdrawal from the South, and (5) release of political prisoners, including communists in the South. Seoul cannot accept these conditions and the DFRK’s formula, because it perceives the DFRK as a means to communize the South.
  • 8. The ROK’s Korean National Community(KNC) Unification Formula As the Cold War was rapidly dismantled in the late 1980s, President Roh Tae-woo initiated a new “engagement policy” toward North Korea in a special declaration of 7 July, 1988. In an address to the National Assembly on 11 September, 1989, Roh presented his original Korean National Community (KNC) unification formula, which has been the official unification formula of the ROK. Seoul and Pyongyang reached a set of historic agreements, including the Basic Agreement, the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the Agreement on the Creation and Operation of Joint Commissions, which came into effect on 19 February, 1992. Roh’s “engagement policy” toward North Korea was remarkably innovative and constructive for improving inter-Korean relations.
  • 9. What is KNC Formula? President Kim Young Sam modified KNC unification formula, proposing a national community as a new paradigm in unification policy. The ROK proposed a blueprint for a unified Korea through an inter-Korean confederation by drafting and finalizing a unified constitution, holding general elections, and forming a unified legislature and a unified government. The Lee Myung-bak and Park Keun-hye governments officially supported the KNC unification formula. In short, the ROK has supported a three-stage unification formula based on three principles of independence, peace, and liberal democracy. The 1st stage: Inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation. The 2nd stage: South-North Korean confederation; and the 3rd stage: Establishment of a unified Korea. The ROK’s unification vision is to achieve one nation, one state, one system, and one government through the KNC unification formula.
  • 10. The second paragraph of the June 15 Joint Declaration states, “Acknowledging that there are common elements in the South’s proposal for a confederation and the North’s proposal for a federation of lower stage as the formulae for achieving reunification, the South and the North agreed to promote reunification in that direction in the future.” This declaration is a departure from the past, symbolizing the end of ideological arguments.
  • 11. What is a Low-Level Federation?
  • 12. What is Inter-Korean Confederation? The ROK’s proposal for an inter-Korean confederation in the June 15 Joint Declaration is, in fact, the second phase of the ROK’s unification formula. The first phase of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation in the KNC unification formula will follow the second phase of the national community (particularly, economic and social community), which is an interim stage to a unitary unified Korea. Therefore, the ROK’s proposal for inter-Korean confederation assumes one nation, one state, two systems, and two governments, and the two Koreas will possess their respective defense and diplomatic rights. Further, the two Koreas will have an interKorean summit meeting, an inter-Korean parliamentary meeting, and an inter-Korean cabinet
  • 13. What are common features of the two proposals? • First, the two proposals are based on a principle of peaceful unification. • Second, the two proposals have an interim stage in the unification process, not a final stage of Korean unification. • Third, North Korea’s proposal for a low-level federation granted diplomatic and defense rights to two regional governments. The two regional governments would participate in the central government on an equal basis. But the national (re)unification council is not yet spelled out in detail.
  • 14. <Table 1> Comparison of the Two Koreas’ Unification Formulae ROK DPRK Name KNC Unification Formula DFRK Unification Formula Basic Ideology Liberal Democracy Juche (elf reliance) ideology Unification Key Body All people Proletariat class Unification Principles Independence, peace and democracy Independence, peace and great national unity Unification Process Three phases: (1) Gradual completion of a federal Reconciliation/Cooperation state. Low-level federation-----(2)Confederation-DFRK (3)A unified, single state Procedures for a unified General, democratic elections in both Koreas A series of political negotiations
  • 15. <Table 1> Comparison of the Two Koreas’ Unification Formulae (continued) Source: Author’s Data Collection ROK DPRK Interim Stage Confederation Low-level federation Procedures for a General, democratic A series of political unified Korea elections in both negotiations Koreas Format of a 1 nation, 1 state, 1 1 nation, 1 state, 2 unified Korea system,1 systems, 2 regional government governments Future Vision of a Freedom welfare, A non-aligned unified human dignity, neutral state Korea democratic state
  • 16. III. ONE KOREA FORMULA THROUGH NEUTRALIZATION REGIME BUILDING • The ROK and the DPRK have insisted on their own unification formulae. Seoul cannot accept Pyongyang’s DFRK formula, while Pyongyang cannot accept Seoul’s KNC formula either. Hence, the author proposes a new Korean unification formula through neutralization as an alternative.
  • 17. Peace through Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula (PNKP) • The concept is simple. If the two Koreas make all efforts to neutralize the extreme thinking, hard-line policy and behavior, then national reconciliation, harmony of interest, and peace between them will ensue. PNKP will pave a smooth road to a peaceful unification of Korea. • PNKP concept should be considered at three levels: (1) the South Korean domestic level, (2) the inter-Korean level, and (3) the international level. First, ideological cleavages between conservatives and progressives in South Korea need to be resolved through PNKP, and national consensus on a neutralization unification formula then needs to be achieved. Second, inter-Korean reconciliation, cooperation, and peace through neutralization need to be achieved for a neutralized, unified Korea. Third, a unified Korea will be a nonaligned, neutralized state, making no military alliance with any of the four major powers (the U.S., China, Japan, or Russia), maintaining a peaceful and balanced diplomacy with them. • The neutralization of the Korean peninsula will be in the best interest of the Korean people and the four powers, resolving intra- and inter-Korean ideological conflicts and promoting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. • In short, a neutralized peace regime on the Korean peninsula will be achieved if there is a national consensus on Korean unification through neutralization in the South and the North.
  • 18. Neutralization Regime-Building as an Alternative Neutralization is designed as a means to promote national reconciliation, harmony of interest, peace, and unification on the Korean peninsula. In the present Northeast Asian security environment, the four powers are unwilling to support Korean unification primarily because their interests are in conflict. However, neutralization unification will benefit all parties concerned—the two Koreas and the four powers. Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula is based on an assumption that the four powers would prefer a unified, neutral, independent, and peaceful Korea to a divided, unstable one. Hence, in my view, the four major powers are likely to support a neutralized, unified Korean peninsula, which will be in their best interests. Neutralization on the Korean peninsula is an essential condition for one Korean state building and will be a win-win strategy for all parties concerned.
  • 19. What is the rationale for neutralization on the Korean peninsula? • First, from a geopolitical perspective, the Korean peninsula has been a victim of a balance of power politics among major powers surrounding the peninsula for many centuries because of a geopolitical-strategic location, and thus neutralization will liberate the Korean peninsula from a balance of power politics. • Second, from the four major powers’ perspectives, neutralization will be in best interests of the four major powers . Hence, they will be supportive of a neutralized, denuclearized, unified Korean peninsula. • Third, from the perspectives of the two Koreas, Koreans have suffered from deep ideological cleavages between extreme conservatives and radicals, and neutralization could thus help resolve them. Neutralization could weaken ideological feuds among South Koreans and between the two Koreas as well. Further, neutralization will reduce arms spending of the two Koreas, so the two would invest in economic development projects. In addition, neutralization could also diminish Pyongyang’s incentives for being a nuclear state, thereby accelerating the denuclearization and peace-regime-building process on the Korean peninsula. • Fourth, from a unification formula perspective, the ROK and the DPRK have conflicting unification formulae and cannot accept each other’s present unification formula as discussed above. Thus, the author proposes a neutralization-unification formula as an alternative to existing two Koreas’ unification formulae.
  • 20. IV.STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTING A FIVE-STAGE NEUTRALIZATIONUNIFICATION FORMULA • The idea of a permanent neutralization on the Korean peninsula has been supported for many centuries by scholars, politicians, and intellectuals. • It is significant and encouraging that Dr. Sohn Hak-kyu, a senior advisor to the Democratic Party, made a proposal for the Korean peninsula neutralization-unification formula on 16 July, 2012. • The Charter for Neutralization on the Korean peninsula (see Appendix) was declared as a neutralization- unification formula on 21 October, 2010 in Seoul, Korea. The Charter proposes the future vision for a unified Korea through a five-stage neutralization formula. • A five-stage neutralization-unification formula for constructing a unitary, unified, neutralized state will be briefly discussed below. Let us take a look at the one Korea vision through a five-stage neutralization-unification formula.
  • 21. <Table 2> Specific Action Plan for a Five-Stage Neutralization-Unification Formula 1st Stage: Neutralization Preparation Normalization of Inter-Korean relations through an inter-Korean basic treaty. Peace and neutralization regime-building: implementation of existing inter-Korean agreements/ denuclearization/ a Korean peninsula peace treaty will be signed. 2nd Stage: Inter-Korean Neutralization-Unification Formula Agreement A neutralization regime declaration on the Korean peninsula. A neutralization-unification formula agreement between the ROK and the DPRK: Establishment of a joint unification commission, “The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC),” 200 members; the Standing Committee(20 members); Th eSecretariat; Joint Arms Control and Disarmament Commission and Joint Military Command Structure for joint measures against any foreign intervention. Establishment of inter-Korean economic community through interim stages of confederation and federation as specified in June 15 (2000) joint statement. 2 states, 2 systems and 2 governments. Inter-Korean confederation stage.
  • 22. <Table 2> a Five-Stage Neutralization Unification Formula (continued) 3rd Stage: International Neutralization Treaty A conclusion of a neutralization treaty between the two Koreas and the four major powers (the U.S., Russia, China, and Japan) and later the URC, recognizing its permanent neutrality status and its non-alignment policy. The four powers’ guarantees on a neutralized Korean peninsula. This stage may be in an inter-Korean federal status. 4th Stage: Neutralization Constitution Draft of a unified, neutralized constitution and approval by Korean people. Two Koreas’ adoption of the Constitution. One Korea vision: 1 state, 1 system and 1 government. 5th Stage: General Elections/One Korea Holding of general, democratic elections on the entire Korean peninsula/ Establishment of a neutralized, denuclearized, unified one Korea/UN member. The United Republic of Corea (the URC) founded on a Korean traditional ideology of Hongik Tongil and peace, freedom, equality, democracy, justice and human rights; The URC, a peaceful, non-aligned, neutralized state, and defensive and armed, defending its independence and territorial integrity.
  • 23. Requirements for realization of a five-stage unification through neutralization 1. The political will of the two Korean top leaders is required. 2. The ROK and the DPRK must take the initiative to persuade the Korean people and the four major powers to accept a neutralized unification formula to construct a unified one Korean state. 3. Seoul and Pyongyang need to begin building mutual trust, first ceasing their arms race, avoiding military confrontation, and gradually engaging in military-security confidence building between the two Koreas, to normalize inter-Korean relations by reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula.
  • 24. V. CONCLUSION 1. The road to a unified Korea through neutralization will be long, rough, and difficult. 2. The DPRK’s nuclear issue has been a key obstacle to the peace process on the Korean peninsula, and its denuclearization process has been long stalled since its long-range rocket launch on 5 April, 2009. Whether the DPRK will resume the denuclearization process remains to be seen. 3. In the short-term, the denuclearization and peace-regime-building processes on the Korean peninsula should be pursued simultaneously. The unification process will be accelerated with the denuclearization and peace-regime-building processes on the Korean peninsula. 4. The Korean people as key players must work together for a unified Korean peninsula and persuade major powers to support a neutralized, unified Korea, which will be in their best interests.
  • 25. 感謝합니다 Thank you very much for your attention Designed by Kenji Sawai, GPYC