Another Possible Korean Scenario: A Unified But Still Nuclear Peninsula, by Gilberto Villahermosa

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Speculation is growing in the global analytic community that it’s possible the two Koreas have begun moving toward what may be their own independently arrived at reconciliation. If that’s true, it means they’re engaging in a kind of diplomatic subterfuge for the benefit of the international community, while together they’re also secretly engaging in what amounts to unification talks conducted at the highest political and military levels. 

If those speculations are correct, there would be four general prerequisites needed for a self-unified Korea to be successful. 

First, a general amnesty would need to be declared for Kim Jong-un and all members of his regime for the crimes they’ve committed against the Korean people, both North and South. 

Second, some major role for Kim – who wants to go down in history as the unifier of Korea – would need to be created in the newly unified nation. He would also require a guarantee in regard to his long-term security against any attempts by the West to bring him to justice for his crimes. 

Third, all US forces would need to depart the peninsula. 

Fourth, major economic investment in the North would have to be immediately and steadily forthcoming from South Korea, in order to facilitate full social, political and military integration over time.

In exchange for that Southern investment, the North would provide Seoul with a nuclear weapons arsenal. Nuclear technology as well as at least some of the North’s 60 nuclear warheads would be transferred south. The result would be a unified – but still nuclear – Korean peninsula. Those weapons would be used to ensure Korea’s independence and security regardless of the ambitions of China, Russia and Japan and the abrogation of American security guarantees.

South Korea is too well integrated into the global economy to be treated as a pariah state, and that would remain true of a newly unified peninsula. Just as the West has accepted a nuclear Israel, India and Pakistan, so too would it have to accept a nuclear Korea. 

Unification of the two Koreas would effectively depress their joined economies for a decade or more as costly restricting went on. There’s little doubt, though, the Korean people would work energetically to overcome all obstacles and move their unified country into becoming one of the leading economies of the world and a regional military powerhouse.