Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Reporter: North Korean collapse not imminent

I would never make a prediction on when the Kim Family Regime will collapse (or even if it will because it might attack the ROK first).  However the conditions are worse than they have ever been.  At the risk of beating the dead horse and as I always I do I would invoke and modify Sun Tzu's dictum of "never assume the enemy will not attack but make yourself invincible" or in the case never assume the north will not collapse but instead prepare for the contingency.  I would say that it is the height of irresponsibility to not conduct planning and preparation for regime collapse.  And I would say that if the reporter is correct and collapse is not imminent then we should still begin preparations now as we will be much better prepared when it does happen.  The problem with the skeptics who say since they have not collapsed and we have been talking about it since 1996 or that collapse is not imminent is that it gives a way out for policy makers and strategists to not focus on the problem and wait until there is a crisis.  Effective planning and preparation now  (or if we had begun preparations vice planning only in 1996) could pay big dividends for the ROK and the ROK/US alliance when collapse finally occurs.

Reporter: North Korean collapse not imminent

Geopolitical concerns of other nations stand in the way of reunification, correspondent says
HONOLULU – North Korea will not collapse until the Korean Peninsula is reunified, a journalist and long-time observer of the peninsula said Tuesday.
Furthermore, reunification is not imminent due to the geopolitical concerns of other nations with a stake in the Korean Peninsula’s future.
Ivan Zakharchenko has spent years covering both North and South Korea, starting with time spent as a correspondent with Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency in the 1980s. He reported from Seoul in the mid-1990s following the collapse of the USSR, spent another one-year stint in Pyongyang after that, and today is based in New York covering the United Nations for the RIA Novosti news agency.
Zakharchenko spoke at the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on North Korean stereotypes, comparing them to what he has witnessed in the North.
“The problem of unification of the Korean Peninsula is not Korea itself,” he said. “It is the geopolitical situation. It doesn’t matter what Koreans themselves want.”
One stereotype he challenged is that North Korea’s collapse will take place within a few years. He pointed out that this has been incorrectly predicted many times before, and that the nations around North Korea are in no hurry to see it come to pass.
“South Korea is not ready for the sudden collapse of North Korea,” he said. “Japan is afraid of a unified Korea. It will be a very strong competitor for them.”
China, on the other hand, may worry that a unified Korea will attempt to claim territory from the Goguryeo kingdom (37 B.C.-668 A.D.), some of which lay in present-day Manchuria.
Russia, Zakharchenko said, is more or less supportive of unification, as it would benefit from reduced tensions in the area and would not share China’s concerns of the loss of a buffer state between it and a U.S. ally where American troops are stationed.
After his presentation, Zakharchenko told NK News that the collapse of the North Korean state would place U.S. policymakers in a difficult position. The purpose of stationing military personnel in the South actually has more to do with China’s growing power, rather than confronting North Korea, he said. The end of the Pyongyang regime, he said, would be uncomfortable for them because it would make this harder to deny.
Much of the tropes he sought to debunk during his presentation revolved around the official state ideology of the regime. North Korea, he said, does not follow communist ideology but a form of subjective nationalism allowing it to shift alliances as circumstances dictate. And rather than a communist ruling class, he compared it with a monarchy, with a hereditary transition akin to the kingdom predating the Japanese colonization of 1910-1945.
Zakharchenko also challenged perceptions regarding standards of living in the country, stating that citizenry could be spotted eating grass, not necessarily due to malnutrition, but because there were plants Koreans on both sides of the DMZ actually enjoyed eating.
He also said that the conciliatory approach of Sunshine Policy taken by South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung (1998-2003) and Roh Moo-hyun (2003-08) had been more successful, resulting in fewer confrontations with North Korea than the policies of their conservative successors Lee Myung-bak (2008-2013) and Park Geun-hye (2013-present).
(Continued at the link below)

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