Обойшева Ангелина Игоревна
Национальный Исследовательский Университет «Высшая Школа Экономики»
Бакалавр Школы Востоковедения

В статье рассматриваются ключевые факторы, препятствующие объединению двух Корей в ближайшей перспективе. В данный момент и у Северной, и у Южной Кореи имеются собственные мотивы для сохранения статуса-кво на Корейском полуострове. Также в статье исследуются интересы Китая и США как главных представителей внешнеполитических партнеров Северной и Южной Корей по вопросу объединения КНДР и РК.

Ключевые слова: КНДР, Корейский полуостров., объединение, раскол, Республика Корея


Oboysheva Angelina Igorevna
National Research University “Higher School of Economics”
Bachelor's degree, School of Oriental Studies

The paper discusses the issue of Korean unification in the nearest future. In this paper was made an attemt to analyse the key factors that prevent two Koreas from unification in the future decades. Today North and South Koreas both have their specific goals for a status-quo prolongation. Also the paper researches the core interests of China and the USA as the main political partners of the DPRK and the ROK, connected with the issue of unification.

Keywords: DPRK, Korean Peninsula, Republic of Korea, split, unification

Рубрика: Политология

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Обойшева А.И. Why The South and The North Koreas should not unite in the future decades // Гуманитарные научные исследования. 2016. № 7 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: https://human.snauka.ru/2016/07/15881 (дата обращения: 14.05.2024).

Korean Peninsula has always been a country that was less powerful in comparison with its neighbors: China and Japan. Korea has always been called “a little shrimp in the Japanese sea” [1]. During past centuries Korean people were under Chinese influence, taking a lot of the technological, cultural and scientific issues as an inheritance of their older brother – Chinese Empire. Being depended on China in cultural sphere, Korea became totally depended even in a territorial way from Japan between 1910 and 1945 years. The time of Japanese occupation was a hardship for Koreans as there were not only positive circumstances at all. With bringing technology and science to Korea, Japanese also brought violence and hostile actions towards citizens of Korea. Many people were cruelly killed and many Korean women were under sexual harassment. Japanese during all that time, passed since mentioned events, haven’t even made an attempt to say sorry to Korean people or just felt regret about their violent actions.

Korean people had just recovered from that evens when another disaster appeared. After the Second World War there were two main winners and two main leaders in the whole world: the USA and the Soviet Union. Tried to reach dissimilar goals they nominally divided the world between there spheres of interest. The capitalistic world was the American one, while communistic world was the Soviet.

People that lived on the Korea Peninsula have always been a little bit different in their vision of the world. That is because of the historic and geographical reasons. People in the South have always been a more luckily in economic situation – a better climate in comparison with cold climatic environment allowed to South people more individualistic way of life. On contrary, in the North people had to unify together as there was no choice for them. Only in collective they could raise any crops.

That is why two different ideologies have been successfully accepted by the Koreans with the appearing of the USA and Soviet armies on the Korean Peninsula. The North Korea began to be a country with a communistic regime, while the South Korea was a capitalistic state. One country was split into two antagonistic zones. Thousands of people perished during cruel civil Korean War during 1950-1953 years. The “38 parallel” divided Korean Peninsula into two countries – The Republic of Korea and The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

However, many people thought that antagonism between Koreas will stop soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, their beliefs didn’t come true.

Korean peninsula today can be classified as a “hot spot” because of the DPRK’s possession of a nuclear weapon. Also a peaceful treatment after the end of the Korean War hasn’t been signed. These facts give us possibility to claim that the civilian war is still continuing.

And after the division of the Korean Peninsula the relations between two countries has been developing cyclically: the “cold” confrontation changes with “warming” dialogue and vice versa. That is why the essence of the Korean file is in the process of unification. We can’t be sure in implementation of unification and we don’t know the exact scenarios of it.

Today we see really possible perspectives for the unification. First of all, this is one of the core issues in Park Geun-hye’s (current president of the ROK) political goals. Also the leader of DPRK Kim Jong-un encouraged ambassadors of the North Korea to contribute to trustful international climate in order to provide a solid basis for a process of the unification.

But we should also take into account that the unification will bring not only “champagne and roses”, it will be a hardship for both Koreas in the beginning of the era of “Unified Korea” (of course, if it happens).The vast majority of specialists on Korea say the situation of the division is better now and during the near 2 decades for the both countries, if we will take their interests into consideration.

First of all, North Korean regime is still existing and it doesn’t go to disappear in the coming decades. North Korean leaders toughly control situation in their country and they don’t yield to the Western world, particularly, the USA.

Secondly, economists say that the unification of Koreas will bring not positives, but negatives to the world economic system. The huge gap between economics of the South Korea and the North Korea will require vast sum of money for making GNP of the countries equal enough.

The North Korean industry will have to be reformed and rebuilt again as it is completely ruined by nowadays. Nowadays South Korean people are not prepared for refusing from their good social and economic conditions for the sake of the reunion [2].

Thirdly, the years without connection between two countries made social and cultural diversity heavier. People have become different since 1953 and now it will take a long time for them to understand each other.

Divided Korea is good now for everyone – from The USA to China. South Korean leaders are taking the policy of the saving current situation on the Korea Peninsula (despite their rhetoric about unification sake that can be a part of a political game). Also the North Korean leaders are afraid of the collapse of their regime. That is why they toughly control their citizens and take the policy which will prevent North Korean people from communication with the rest capitalistic world. The North Korean leaders successfully manipulate the South Korean leaders, asking for economic help. And for the South Korea such humanitarian help is much better than billions that could be spent on the unification of the two Koreas.

As for the USA, it is ready to forget about human rights and democratic principles in order to save the situation between the countries as it exists and be sure in political influence of the USA in South Korea.

Speaking about China, we should understand that there is sake for China too. As a communistic country which opposes the USA, it is good for it to have a powerless neighbor with similar communistic ideas.

According to the opinion polls that were made in the South Korea, about 60% of the people would like the two Koreas become one country, but not in the near future.

All that facts say that in theory the unification of the two Koreas is possible, while practically it won’t occur soon (in the near 10-20 years) as it will not only take huge economic resources but also the North will never accept the unification on conditions as the part of the capitalistic and pro-American South Korea and the powerless country without nuclear power [3].

Today, despite the fact that South Korea seeks unification, as it is said in the Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea (“The Republic of Korea shall seek unification and shall formulate and carry out a policy of peaceful unification based on the principles of freedom and democracy”) and the existence of Ministry of Unification in the ROK government, the political course of the current South Korean leader remains conservative: Park Geun-hye claims for a balanced relationship with Pyongyang which means saving current situation of division as long as it is possible [4].

And, as the process of unification is possible only through the mutual dialogue and respect (that doesn’t mean absorption), it will take a long time to agree on the possible ways of it. The North Korea will not agree on denuclearization till the USA signs a peaceful treaty with it, and as the USA doesn’t pay any interest in this process, there’s almost no way for soon changes on the Korean Peninsula.

It is important to mention that the official newspaper of the DPRK – “Workers’ Newspaper” blames the ROK government for the bad relationship between two countries and calls for changing the political course of confrontation to a more suitable one for mutual interests [5].

To sum up, the perspective of unification on the Korean Peninsula is highly uneven nowadays. In order to be ready for unification, both of the countries should be prepared. However, we don’t see it now. South Korean society faces various problems like economic inequality, low economic growth etc. As for the North Korea, their political and economical environment is too far from the state of “preparedness” for the unification. If the unification occurs, all these problems will multiply. So, first the two countries need to tackle their internal problems and then, only through cooperation and mutual dialogue, they will be able to decide on the ways for unification process.

  1. Ли Орён. В тех краях, на тех ветрах.- М.: Наталис, 2011. – С.22.
  2. Ланьков А.Н. Объединение Кореи: реальность и демагогия. – Русский Журнал, 2001. [Электронный ресурс] Режим доступа: URL:  http://okoree.narod.ru/d11.htm (дата обращения: 10.07.2016).
  3. Лузянин С. Кому нужна единая Корея? – 2010. [Электронный ресурс] Режим доступа: URL: http://www.mgimo.ru/news/experts/document161592.phtml (дата обращения: 10.07.2016).
  4. Constitution of the Republic of Korea. – 1987. [Электронный ресурс] Режим доступа: URL: http://korea.assembly.go.kr/res/low_01_read.jsp?boardid=1000000035 (дата обращения: 10.07.2016).
  5. Ju Don Gyn. Pukhan kesoktvenyn namhan pinan…Kim Jeug-un sinensan moul tamyulka? [The continuing blames of the South Korean government…What is Kim Jong-un going to say in New Year’s speech?] [Электронный ресурс] Режим доступа: URL: http://news.kmib.co.kr/article/view.asp?arcid=0008996034&code=61111611&sid1=prj_1 (дата обращения: 10.07.2016).

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