The Relationship Between South Korea, North Korea and Unification

HAESUN CHO

German Ambassador Hans-Ulrich Seidt’s giving a speech for the Relationship Between S. and N. Korea and Unification

– Discard Ideologies, Focus on Practicality
– Gradual Processes for Unification rather than Abrupt One
– Accurate Analyses on Current Political, Economic Situation

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the German unification on the coming Oct. 3, German Ambassador Hans-Ulrich Seidt on Wednesday, Sep. 29th, 10 presented his insight for the direction of the relationship between two Koreas and the unification. Seidt illustrated the experience of Germany’s abrupt reunification, and based on the experience/ example, he provided suggestions for Koreas to wisely deal with the current and future political, economic relationship and unification.

Seidt mentioned that the state of West Germany overestimated the economy of the state of East Germany before reunification, so they faced some problems when they united. So Seidt advised that South Korea should properly assess and analyze the economic situation in North Korea so that they can be better prepared for the unification and implementation of political and economic systems when it happens.

Seidt applauded the current S. Korea’s efforts in handling some unification issues, especially S. Korean President Myungbak Lee’s proposal for a unification tax. He said it is very practical, constructive, and realistic measure for unification. In addition, however, Seidt advised S. Korea to approach the issues of unification in a more practical way rather than in a conceptual way. For instance, he gave an example of N. Korea’s lacking forests these days. Situated between China and S. Korea, whose economies keep developing, N. Korea will have to open their economy at some point in a long run, so if S. Korea helps N. Korea’s reforestation, it will be able to help their relationship, said Seidt.

After Germany’s unification, Germany closed the East German Embassy in Pyeongyang, N. Korea. However, in 2001, on behalf of Daejoong Kim’s (the former President of S. Korea) administration request to reopen the Embassy in Pyeongyang, Germany did so, notifying N. Korea three things. First, the German Embassy would like to contribute to relieve the tension between S. and N. Korea. Second, the German Embassy will try to improve the North Korean human rights. Third, the German Embassy will try to help Koreas to unite as one independent, peaceful country.

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