>I recently asked well-known blogger The Korean from askakorean.net fame for his thoughts on North Korea. At 16 he left Korea with his family to live in California, and he now lives in New York City. Although off the peninsula for quite some time, his views on the DPRK are similar to many of the South Koreans I have interviewed.
WAP: What was your earliest memory of North Korea or its people?
TK: When I was in the first grade, we learned about the story about this brave boy about our age. (Don’t remember if it was in the textbook or if the teacher was free-styling.) The boy lived in a northern part of Gangwon-do near the Armistice Line with his parents, and some armed communist spies broke into his house, demanding food. The boy exclaimed, “I hate communists!” and one of the spies killed the boy by ripping his mouth open with a bayonet.
Apparently this is a true story, but what a thing to teach to 6 year old kids!
WAP: Do you want reunification?
Seoul’s War Memorial of Korea
WAP: Do you want comprehensive and immediate reunification, similar to East and West Germany -though the DPRK’s economy is much worse shape than the GDR’s ever was- or do you want a more gradual process of reintegration?
TK: Gradual process, by a small margin. But I think realistically, the only possible way in which reunification would happen is the comprehensive and immediate version.
WAP: Is the reunification of the two Koreas paramount, or does the continued success of the South Korean economy trump sweeping change?
TK: I don’t think it’s an either-or proposition, because I don’t think reunification will doom South Korean economy (although it will likely depress South Korean economy for a little while.) Eventually, reunification will be a boost toward Korean economy, for example, by providing cheap labor and cheaper access to China.
TK: I think American troops are indispensable for maintaining peace in the Korean peninsula.
Here is a paper that brings up some interesting points regarding reunification vis-a-vis the German example.