A Better Marshall Plan for North Korea, If…

[imText1]A Marshall Plan of North Korean version is often subject of discussion among S. Korean politicians and critics.

In 2005, Chung Dong Yong, a Uri Party’s presidential hopeful and then Unification minister, mentioned his plan of ‘reconstruction of North Korea,’ which would aim eventual build-up of Korean economic zone, if North Korea gave up nukes.

Leading conservative, Park Geun Hye, former chairman of Grand National Party and also candidate for president in 2007, emphasized significance of an economic rebuilding plan for North Korea so called ‘North Korean Marshall Plan’ to breakthrough on NK nuke issue in April 2005 while delivering a speech at Columbia University in NY.

Two key politicians with divergent views in many issues agreed on such Marshall Plan’s relationship with peaceful solution of NK nuke controversy. North Korea’s nuclear weapons are indeed the most crucial subject in both inter-Korean relations and US-DPRK one. Thus, it is reasonable to relate every suggestion to the North with the nuke issue.

However, removal of North Korea’s nuclear warheads can never help North Korean version of Marshall Plan. If economic development blueprint needs to work, improvement in human rights situation must follow.

For an easy example, there is a plan for helping North Korea to build roads. If roads are built and there are no freedom of movement of people and goods, then what good the aid would do anyway? Another example: maybe we could even build wireless internet, but taking advantage of it would still be prohibited by Kim Jong Il regime.

Any gift of infrastructure construction must be followed by freedom of people who would use it.

South Korea and international community need to commit reciprocity by providing Marshall Plan in exchange of improvement in human rights.

Modernization of housing for millions of North Koreans might be traded with freedom of residence, or airports and seaports could be built by South Korea if the North allow free contact of its people with foreigners; just to name a few.

This is not unprecedented. The U.S. enacted the Jackson-Vanik Act, which demanded freedom of immigration of Jews from Soviet Union and promised lower tariff in return, in 1974. Washington postponed Most Favored Nation status for China due to human rights violation.

Since inter-Korean trade is already duty-free, however, South Korean government can try infrastructure option to force North Korea.

Also, Marshall Plan for North Korea must be planned and implemented by not only South Korea but also all surrounding superpowers, including the US, China, Japan and Russia, because if North Korean situation improved every neighbor would benefit from it. Therefore, Marshall Plan for NK could be consulted with the six party talks’ member states, and it better be so.

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