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The Proper Way to Prepare for Reunification

Ryu Geun Il, Former Chief Editor of Chosun Ilbo  |  2010-08-17 16:27
“Pursuit of reunification beyond the management of division” was the main topic of President Lee Myung Bak’s commemorative speech on Liberation Day, August 15th.

It is a fact that the process of managed division before reunification that South Korea has set up is long. This is because the establishment of peace has been the priority consideration. President Lee Myung Bak has also set the establishment of peace at the head.

While North Korea has been shouting about reunification under communism by revolutionizing South Chosun, South Korea has put reunification based on our own ideals on the back burner. However, President Lee Myung Bak has now put “our own view of reunification” clearly to the forefront.

Pro-Kim Jong Il sophists insist that agreeing with the North Korean way of reunification is really pursuing reunification, but discussing the South’s way of reunification causes only conflict and is anti-reunification talk. The North Korean way of reunification is to force the South into disarmament, cast aside the National Security Law and break off the alliance with the U.S. while the North keeps its nuclear weapons. The only way that South Korea has confronted the logic of these North Korean and pro-Kim Jong Il groups has been to try and secure peace through the management of division.

Therefore, our younger generations tend to believe that the South is very defensive and half-hearted in terms of reunification, and they have grown apart from the idea of reunification. As a consequence, the younger generation worries about the cost of reunification more than anything else.

Anyhow, now the President has put his attitude towards reunification and ideals for reunification at the forefront, so what is the next step? He talked about the establishment of a “reunification tax” as one practical way to prepare for it. Of course, this is a good topic for discussion.

However, the thing I want to emphasize is the need for an effort to circulate information among the North Korean people. The principle of the free circulation of information from the Helsinki Conference should be adapted to the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Jong Il, of course, will get irritated, but we do not need to shelve plans for psychological warfare out of the fear that Kim Jong Il will get angry.

There are lots of things civilians can do. The administration should actively back these civilian activities for the transmission of information to the North Korean people.

Just as it announced its reunification ideals to the people of the South, the administration needs to let the North Korean people know what they are planning.

Additionally, we need to inform them that the way people live in most other countries is the way people are supposed to live, as human beings instead of in the way they are living in the North. While giving them information, we have also to win the North Korean people’s hearts and minds through the circulation of information. That is the key.
 
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