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A new departure for North Korea?


Tough Paddy

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What are the chances of the two Koreas being unified anytime soon?

In what was quite a conciliatory New Year’s speech, Kim Jong-Un largely spoke about unifying the two Koreas and of improving the North Korean economy.

North Korean leader reaches out to South - YouTube

Following on from this speech, the German newspaper Spiegel is now reporting that the North Korean regime;

“has enlisted the help of German economic and legal experts to lay the groundwork for foreign investment in North Korean companies.

… Such a move would be revolutionionary for North Korea , which has long been largely cut off from the rest of the world by virtue of its heavy-handed regime. The country's economy is in a shambles as a result. But since Kim Jong Un took over from his late father just over a year ago, there have been signs of change.

His New Year's address was the most obvious indication that he is prepared to embark on a path different from the one followed by his father, Kim Jong Il. Indeed, even holding such an address was a departure; it marked the first such speech by a North Korean leader since Kim Il Sung held the last one in 1994”.

German Paper Reports North Korea Preparing Economic Opening - SPIEGEL ONLINE

So what are chances of all of this coming to pass? Off the North Korean regime opening up to the outside world and two Koreas being unified at some stage in the future? Is this just more empty rhetoric from North Korea in the hope of obtaining more concessions for the country in the form of economic aid etc? Or will Kim Jong-Un’s words being backed up with actions?

As the article quoted above also rightly points out, Kim Jong-Un’s intentions if sincere will come up against fierce resistance from the military.

"The military in North Korea… will not want to give up power. … it is by no means clear whether Kim's reform efforts will be able to overcome military resistance”.
 
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RahenyFG

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I'd say it's a trick to get economic aide as past addresses have done.

I always thought Ireland would have a better chance of reunification than Korea.
 

harshreality

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Perhaps he is under pressure to do so.

Keeping a country completely isolated was a bit easier in the time of his grandfather but in the modern era ordinary North Koreans have to be aware of how poor their peninsula is compared to the southern half, and indeed the rest of the world.

He may, just may, be slightly more realistic than what came before him.
 

Tough Paddy

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I'd say it's a trick to get economic aide as past addresses have done.

I always thought Ireland would have a better chance of reunification than Korea.
I'm not sure about that. I don't think we'll see an united Ireland again until at least a minimum of 50 years. It will take at least that long before some of the deep hatred held by both sides for each other is bred away (for the want of a better expression).
 

florin

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Keeping a country completely isolated was a bit easier in the time of his grandfather but in the modern era ordinary North Koreans have to be aware of how poor their peninsula is compared to the southern half, and indeed the rest of the world.
It was never really isolated or self-reliant anyway - in the Soviet period it was kept afloat by "friendship prices" for oil. Once they had to pay market price everything collapsed.
 

Goa Tse

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I'm not sure about that. I don't think we'll see an united Ireland again until at least a minimum of 50 years. It will take at least that long before some of the deep hatred held by both sides for each other is bred away (for the want of a better expression).
It'll take quicker than that if Independent News & Media goes to the wall :D

As for Korea, who knows? Kim Jong Healy-Rae Junior could well be pressured into war by his generals. Hopefully not though.
 

GDPR

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There's also the following question: Under what circumstances would South Korea accept reunification?

From an economical perspective reunification may not be a good move for South Korea. Germany spend tons of money trying to build up the former GDR. It was difficult for them, imagine how difficult it would be to build up North Korea for South Korea from a financial viewpoint.
 

harshreality

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It was never really isolated or self-reliant anyway - in the Soviet period it was kept afloat by "friendship prices" for oil. Once they had to pay market price everything collapsed.
Yes very true but communist to communist diplomatic relations were not really what I was getting at.

Even China seems to have become a bit tired of the North Koreans at this stage so they need to change the game a bit.
 

RahenyFG

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There's also the following question: Under what circumstances would South Korea accept reunification?

From an economical perspective reunification may not be a good move for South Korea. Germany spend tons of money trying to build up the former GDR. It was difficult for them, imagine how difficult it would be to build up North Korea for South Korea from a financial viewpoint.
Very true and what politics what dominant a unified Korea? The capitalist South system or the communist North system or a mish mash between the two? Doesn't sound like it would work out.
 

Tough Paddy

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There's also the following question: Under what circumstances would South Korea accept reunification?

From an economical perspective reunification may not be a good move for South Korea. Germany spend tons of money trying to build up the former GDR. It was difficult for them, imagine how difficult it would be to build up North Korea for South Korea from a financial viewpoint.
As far as I'm aware South Korean workers pay very little in the form of income tax etc. A pittance compared to other developed countries. I'd expect to see a reunification tax being put on the people of South Korea in the event of any potential unification which no doubt would be met with resistance from some South Koreans.
 

Spanner Island

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I can't see them re-unifying any time soon... if at all...

Co-existing with a more harmonious relationship would probably be the extent of it...

I do think North Korea may open up though... seeing as Kim Jong-Un was educated in the west etc.. I just can't see NK remaining as isolated as she is now... although if they keep f***ing around with rockets and sh!t like that then I'm sure America will do her best to keep NK isolated...

I suspect NK will be coaxed into the international community slowly but surely and that China will probably give her a hand...
 

Dame_Enda

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Encouraging but will the old-guard allow it? Personally I don't think China would mind them liberalising their economy like they did but there could be trouble if they go too far down the road of political change. China sees NK as a buffer against the democratic world and it's 'dangerous ideas'.
 

Tough Paddy

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While searching for more information on this, I came across this little interesting snippet. Apparently, in a decision which has been criticized by the US state department, the CEO of Google is planning a visit to North Korea. He will be joined on the trip by the former governor for New Mexico Bill Richardson.

The CEO of Google, “Eric Schmidt is known for his advocacy of Internet freedom, so it is somewhat ironic that he intends to go to the country with perhaps the most severe restrictions on access to the web.

… As one of the world's most impoverished countries, North Korea appears to have few prospects as a lucrative market for Google. The top Internet search provider has a market capitalization of about $235 billion - nearly six times North Korea's estimated total gross domestic product.

Asia Foundation's Beck says Schmidt appears to have other priorities regarding Pyongyang.

'I don't think that there are any tremendous economic opportunities for Google in North Korea. But I think it's part of Google's broader commitment of bringing information technology to the world', Beck said. 'And North Korea is really the last frontier in some ways. It is really the most isolated country when it comes to the Internet and Google could be a very powerful way of bringing more of the Internet to North Korea'.

There is also some speculation that Schmidt's visit could, in part, include an attempt to secure the release of an American citizen held in North Korea.

Report: Google Executive to Visit North Korea
 
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harshreality

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Encouraging but will the old-guard allow it? Personally I don't think China would mind them liberalising their economy like they did but there could be trouble if they go too far down the road of political change. China sees NK as a buffer against the democratic world and it's 'dangerous ideas'.
Perhaps I'm just being cynical but if the old guard realise there is a few quid to be made through opening up then they will be all for it!
 

Clanrickard

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I can't see them re-unifying any time soon... if at all...

Co-existing with a more harmonious relationship would probably be the extent of it...

I do think North Korea may open up though... seeing as Kim Jong-Un was educated in the west etc.. I just can't see NK remaining as isolated as she is now... although if they keep f***ing around with rockets and sh!t like that then I'm sure America will do her best to keep NK isolated...

I suspect NK will be coaxed into the international community slowly but surely and that China will probably give her a hand...
Ireland and Korea will be re-united by 2050.
 

Tough Paddy

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Ireland and Korea will be re-united by 2050.
As I alluded to earlier in this thread, I genuinely believe that's there more chance of the two Koreas being united before that of Ireland.
 

Smithy12

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Unlike others, i think he will be a great leader for North Korea in the coming years. Hes western educated (Switzerland i believe). He speaks a number of different foreign languages, and has no problem appearing alongside his not so bad looking wife!

Shes often seen wearing mini shirt short tops and make up. Big change to how his father acted when he was in charge. I think North Korea is entering a new era of change under this young mans guidance. It will take time, it not going to be an overnight.
 

Tough Paddy

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Ireland and Korea re-united?

Sounds a bit odd, what would we call the country and would the capital be Dublin, Pyongyang or Cork?
Any chance of shuffling a few FFers off to Pyongyang?! :D
 

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