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South Koreans should think in a selfish way
South Koreans should abandon their policy of reuniting the two Koreas. The South should look for opportunities for its companies in the North.

THERE IS not much point in talking about reunification of Korean Peninsula at this moment of time. The incumbent North Korean President Kim Jong Un is too young to consider reunification. Moreover, the Arab Springs are not producing the desired consequences for the Western nations, and Islamism is on the rise. The dominant Right is natural for evolution of almost all Islamist-communist societies after decades of authoritarian rule and despotism.

Instead of talking about what should be considered as slightly academic; reunification, the South Korean government and its people should become practical and it should take economic actions without political constraints. It should try to invest in the North Korea with the condition of no political consequences but expecting guarantee from the North that it would not discriminate and harm the South’s economic interests in the North.

If the President of the North Korea and his inner circle suspect about future American mediation and its high handedness, then the South should restrict the role of the US to that of a guarantor along with China. To further allay the fear of the North, the South Korean companies which have significant American shareholdings should limit or dilute their contributions when they invest in the North Korea. For that they can sign derivatives and other business’ instruments with their American counterparts. American companies can be compensated by increasing their shareholdings in those companies in other markets or by buying South Korean treasury bonds and other instruments. In addition, American companies can always rejuvenate South Korean companies by technology and capital inputs. But if the North Koreans do not object to American shareholdings coming to the North, then that should be considered as the best option.

If one remembers correctly, the North Koreans detonated nuclear devices two times, one in 2006 and other in 2009. But many may forget that American ambassador to the North Korea in 2007 put concrete in building of a reactor and it was shown all across the globe by international news channels. What may be concluded is that in 2006 and 2009 the North Korea detonated its nuclear devices to destroy its nuclear potency! This appears to be the most dramatic and hawkish way to roll back its nuclear capability. May be the North has one or two tiny devices left but reserved for the South. It appears more probable that the US should not consider the North as a possible threat than otherwise. But then it is indeed a risky calculation. Whatever be the reality of the North Korean nuclear weapon program, the South should ignore it when planning investment into the North though it should seek the US defense umbrella to protect its citizens.

The whole West should understand that spreading consumerism is far more important than supporting democracies and capitalism. It should see the three things getting satisfied: first, that people have buying power, second, that there are competitive products in each and every market where it invests or it has interests, and lastly, that people have habit to buy products provided the first two conditions are met.

Countries’ people can have sufficient buying powers if they are producers of any kind; primary, secondary or tertiary. Moreover, the employees should be knowledgeable and the governments should be able to collect taxes and provide required subsidies to the needy ones. There can be diversified and competitive products if and only if the nation is part of the international community. The last condition of people having no objection to buying is more or less ascertained by default if the first two conditions are satisfied. No democracy or capitalism is needed. What is required is the wish to excel and grow in those societies. True, if nation-states consistently and continuously follow this then they are more likely to transform into democracies.

The same should be true for the North Korea. The South should not put too many constraints. Initially, it should look at getting opportunities to invest and should look for maximum possible economic returns. They need to follow North’s law. Also, the South Korean government should admit that there would always be leaks and corruption when it provided aids to the North. But it should continue to provide aid to the North. Same is true for the US. Both should curtail their expectations for the time being.

The fact is that if the two Koreas interact with each other for significant period of time then each would influence other. Reunification is possible after decades of interactions but it should happen by consensus and not by cajoling. Even then the two Koreas may not fully merge with each other and there may be two separate systems in the ‘unified’ Koreas. One needs to be careful while engineering a solution to the dispute: that even though the two Koreas were same people in forties the time has changed. Their differing consciousness may not allow full merger whenever it takes place and that should be counted. Time is a big healer.    


Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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