|▲ 'Progressive and Conservative Talk Unification', an open forum for unification policy hosted by National Assemblyman Kwon Young Se and sponsored by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, was held at Seoul Plaza Hotel on March 9th.|
The likelihood of North Korea turning towards reform will only grow if and when Kim Jong Eun fails to deliver improved economic performance to the country post-Kim Jong Il, according to the director of the Institute for National Security Strategy, Nam Sung Wook.
Nam, who was participating in an open forum entitled “Progressive and Conservative Talk Unification”, hosted by Kwon Young Se, a Grand National Party member of the National Assembly, yesterday, explained, "Unless there is a particular problem with Kim Jong Il's health, it is highly likely that a joint administration will be established."
Nam predicted, "The joint administration, since it is facing the Middle East democratization movement and such like, will seek to maintain the current situation for a while rather than going for reform and opening. Accordingly, there is a high possibility of inter-Korean relations fluctuating back and forth severely between discussion and conflict depending on the time."
In addition, he added, "Given the current internal leadership structure and system of controls, the possibility of the North Korean system collapsing or an emergency situation arising is not high, unless Kim Jong Il dies suddenly."
According to Nam, however, the failure of the Kim Jong Eun system could finally lead to reform and opening.
He explained, "If Kim Jong Eun is not able to resolve the severe economic crisis, he will retreat to the second line and the following collective leadership can proceed with a policy of reform while also improving international relations to maintain the system itself."
Such a collective could be modeled on the Soviet Union after Stalin or the less stable group that appeared in China after the death of Mao Zedong, Nam suggested.
Meanwhile, speaking on the behalf of progressives at the event, Park Sun Sung, a professor at Dongguk University asserted that South Korea’s unification policy is actually counter-productive and harmful to inter-Korean relations.
Professor Park pointed out, "There are some concerns with the 'Three Communities’ unification plan presented by the South Korean government. This unification plan, which insists on changing North Korea as the first priority, excessively emphasizes the lead of South Korea and the objectification of North Korea as the target of unification policy. There is a high possibility of it being the main cause of friction in inter-Korean relations."
"Discussion of unification costs and a tax, things which involve the collapse of North Korea, will only result in intensifying North Korea's distrust of South Korea's policy. A method which can lead North Korea to change will have to follow the Development of Inter-Korean Relations Act, which was made in agreement between the opposing parties."