North and South Korea could be unified by
2040~2050, according to a new report. Released on the 16th by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs’ Korea National Diplomatic Academy, the report is the first to look at a possible “blueprint for unification” since President
Park Geun Hye made her “unification as jackpot” comment at the beginning of this year.
to “2040 Korea Unification Vision Report,” if South and North are able to
establish a joint economic system and raise the national
income of North Koreans to $10,000 per person by implementing President Park’s
“trust process” and facilitating greater inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation,
it would then be possible to achieve peaceful
The report states that
by around 2040~50, if North Korea’s national income were to rise to 70% of South
Korea’s, political unification would be achievable.
It notes also that unification would make Korea the 7th largest
economy in the world, with a population of 80 million, and would create synergies by facilitating economies of scale. A unified Korea would also see many
fewer troops on the Korean Peninsula, from the current total of 1,800,000 down
to approximately 350,000.
However, the report has been met with skepticism by experts.
The head of the Sejong Institute, Song Dae Sung told Daily NK, “There
is some meaning in the fact that a blueprint for unification has been issued, and
that it prioritizes economic integration over political and ideological
unification, which could incite social unrest.”
However, he went on to warn, “North Korea is stubborn and does not change;
therefore, it is not possible to say whether unification can be achieved according to the
timeframe [in the report].”
Moreover, “We cannot achieve unification alone. Unification
means having a partner, and in this case it is North Korea. Therefore, if we
want to realize unification in a timely manner, it will have to be preceded by an effort
to persuade neighboring countries China and the U.S.”