The Direction and Tasks for the Reunification of the Korean Peninsula
Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae
Is Reunification a Bonanza?
Reunification of the Korean peninsula is a must and thus any discussion about its necessity or benefits is unnecessary. Reunification is a matter of regaining the ethnic identity of the Korean community, including people in South and North Korea and even expatriates. Koreans just need to heal from the scars left by the turbulent past 120 years in which their sovereignty was lost and the country was divided. Because we're brothers, we need to be one nation again. Are we trying to unite again because it will make this country stronger and more affluent? Hardly, it's not a matter of political or economic interests. What the President said about reunification in the new year's press conference is just stirring hope and expectations for reunification by calling this self-evident destination a bonanza.
Bringing about People's Interest and Consensus with Cultural Approaches
We've had many political, economic, and military macro-discussions about reunification since the separation of the country. We've worked on estimating how much good or bad is expected from reunification. However, it's almost impossible to have practical estimates about such a massive enterprise. The destination and steps toward it should be framed by the people and their grassroots communities rather than by the government or research teams. Only by drawing out the people's consensus can we build sustainable reunification strategies that won't just be replaced with the changing of government administrations. These days, we don't have much divergence between the liberals and conservatives or between the ruling or opposing parties concerning issues related to reunification. The Ministry of Unification is trying to make many cultural opportunities to discuss what we agree upon. We especially want to support cultural networking so that more young people might have more interest and opinions on this issue since they are the very ones that will carry it out.
We First, then North Korea, then the International Community
I believe we first need to open ourselves through communication and consensus building. We haven't revised the official reunification steps which were made during the Cold War and we have reacted to North Korea so frivolously only when they made some shameful issues like nuclear bomb experiments, massive flooding, or the killing of the ruler's relatives. I believe it's time for the South Koreans to make a change in their idea that North Korea needs to change first. Reunification means doing something together. That's why we need to open ourselves first. The opening of South Korea, responsiveness from North Korea, and harmonious support from the international community are what we need for reunification.
Translation by Kang, Soo Jung
President of Salt&Light