NKSC held an academic seminar on problems that could arise in the process of reunification and how to accelerate North Korea’s economic reform on June 28, 2011.
Kim Gwang-jin, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy, asserted that the first gateway to North-South Korean integration should be to remove the Kim regime and then form a new national economic development strategy similar to the “Han River Miracle.” “The most bellicose and hostile country towards South Korea is North Korea. Until they stop the provocations enforced on South Korea, North Korea should forget about the idea of maintaining its hegemony.” He also added that, “A clear model needs to be implemented for North Korean citizens when replacing the Kim regime. For example, General Park Chung Hee’s comprehensive central controlled development –or ‘dictator development’ – may be appropriate for a certain period of time.”
A defector himself, Kim underlined the role of North Korean defectors as active agents for North-South integration. “If the government becomes owned by a singular party in North Korea before North-South Korean unification, the group would play a crucial role to eliminate Kim regime from holding the leadership and legitimacy to rule North Korea. At the same time South Korea should actively take the lead to gather power with this non-elite military group and stand in solidarity with them.”
Lastly, he pointed out that “radio, Korean popular culture and other information can promote the collapse of the regime. North Korean defectors play the role of a link to talk about North Korea’s actual circumstances to South Korea and the international community through books, radio, lectures on security, testimony and music.”
Choi Hong Jae, executive director of Zeitgeist, said that, “South Korea could exert its ability to provide democratic base for reform and opening forces in democratization of North Korea.” As it was seen in the incidence of sink of the Cheonan ship and Yeonpyeong Island, however, there was obvious social confusion in South Korea. If national integration even within South Korea can not be ensured, South Korea can’t play the role of democratic base for North Korea.”
Kim Byeong Wook, a North Korean defector with a Ph.D. in North Korea studies said that, “Only two percent of defectors formerly worked in administrative positions in North Korea. Over 90 percent of defectors are from North Hamkyung province and generally had humble backgrounds. Therefore, it is not surprising that North Koreans may have a very difficult time adapting to a difficult society like South Korea.
Andrei Lankov, professor of Kookmin University said, “The majority of Korean scholars assume that North Korea will initiate Chinese-style reforms and unification will be relatively easy to accomplish. It is important, however, to remember there is a need to build a middle class in North Korea to ensure democracy.”
Cho Myung-chul (below), the chairman of the Unification Education Center, made the congratulatory address.
Hong Sun-kyung, the head of the North Korea Democratization Committee, gave words of encouragement to the speakers before the session began.
NKSC representative Kang Chol Hwan
Speaker Kim Kwang-jin (Institute for National Security Strategy researcher)
Kim Byung-wook (National Unification Advisory Council Assistant Secretary/North Korean Studies Ph.D.)
Kukmin University Professor Andrei Lankoff