What does the ‘70th-year’ mean to you? It may be a very short time in the history of mankind, but it seems to be a long time for us to live a life of 100 years. As for Korea, the phrase ’70th-year’ means 'time of pain'. It has been 70 years since the Korean peninsula was divided into South and North. Since the end of the 6.25 Korean War, the two nations have spent years with highly-elated tension. In the meantime, the remarks and efforts about reunification have been continued. But for many people, this has been regarded as a distant story to them. However, on April 27, 2018, as the inter-Korean summit was held, we came one step closer to realizing our dreams. Let's take a closer look at the paths of the two countries.
Our Story of Division Process
US and the Soviet Unions' Establishment of Military Administration after the Liberation (1945.8.15)
On August 15, 1945, Korea was liberated from the Japanese colonial rule. However, the United States and the Soviet Union established a military administration. On the south side of the 38th line, the US introduced the US-style liberal democracy while to the north of the 38th latitude, the Soviet Union introduced a Soviet-style communist system.
Trusteeship and Division of People Decided(1945.12)
At the Moscow Conference, US and the Soviet Unions' five - year trusteeship in Korea was decided. When the details of the conference became widely known in Korea, domestic political forces were divided into pros and cons and fought each other. This division weakened the independence of the Korean nation at an important moment of integration.
Introduction of the Issue to the UN General Assembly (1947.9)
A joint Soviet-American Commission was established to assist in the establishment of a provisional government. However, due to the differences between them, it was miscarried without any outcomes. When this alternative failed, the United States proposed this situation to the United Nations General Assembly. They ordered both Koreas to organize a unified government by conducting a free general election. But North Korea strongly rejected this, so it was decided that only South Korea holds its election.
The Process of the Establishment of South Korea’s Single Government(1948)
In 1948, South Korea made a great effort to establish a single government. First, they held a general election to set up the Constitutional Assembly. Next, the first President Rhee Syng-man promulgated the Constitution on July 7, so the establishment of the South Korean government could be declared on August 15. Finally, the United Nations General Assembly approved the unilateral government of the Korean peninsula in December.
Outbreak of the 6.25 Korean War(1950. 6. 25 ∼ 1953. 7. 27)
At the dawn of June 25, 1950, North Korean Communist forces were illegally sacked across the 38th parallel. There was a fierce battle and many people were hurt and died due to this war. At the end, a ceasefire was negotiated on July 27, 1953 and the 38th line has been replaced by the line of ceasefire. From then, the hostile relationship has been maintained and the division of North and South was fixed.
The Three Inter-Korean Summits
An inter-Korean Summit was held in April, 2018. There is no guarantee that the unification will come after the inter-Korean summit. Nevertheless, it has become, and still is, an important issue since the North and the South Korea are steadily getting to know each other. Through this summit, both sides will try to discuss the political and economic issues therefore putting themselves in other’s shoes.
Ex-presidents Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il clinched the first inter-Korean summit in 2000. It was held in Pyongyang from June 13 to June 15. The 6.15 Inter-Korean Joint Declaration was announced as a result of this significant meeting. Additionally, North and South separated families were given a chance to have a meeting in Seoul and Pyongyang.
In 2007, ex-president of South Korea, Roh Moo-hyun and the North, Kim Jong-il met up at Pyongyang for the second inter-Korean summit. It was held from October 2 to October 4. The discussion accelerated in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula and promoting the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects. After this, the 2007 North-South Summit Declaration was announced.
Recently, on April 27, 2018, the third inter-Korean summit was held. President Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong-un met together at the Joint Security Area(JSA), Panmunjeom, in the South. The noticeable fact is that it was the first time for the North to come to the South for the purpose of the summit. The agenda was about denuclearization, establishing peace, and the improvement of inter-Korean relations for the mutual benefit. As the third summit was held, the Panmunjeom Declaration was announced. Moreover, on May 26, Kim Jong-un called for an unofficial summit. Both representatives agreed that the 2018 North Korea–United States Summit will be an important issue. Thus, the North confirmed to quickly implement the Panmunjeom Declaration and to firm up their will to denuclearize.
Aren’t You Curious about the Industries That Will Flourish?
As the possibility of reunification is rising, South Koreans are curious about which industries are going to flourish. There are things that are going to be restarted and things that are going to be illuminated for the first time.
The Industries That Are Going to Rise Up Again
Gaeseong Industrial Complex
It was established in August, 2000. At that time, about 55,000 North Korean workers were working there. Unfortunately, in January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and launched long-range missiles in February. So, it stopped manufacturing. Ninety-six percent of companies in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex expressed their tendency to reintroduce because they need financial services such as insurance, raising funds to run a business.
Mt. Geumgang Tour
Since July 2008, it has been restricted because of a tourist murder incident. Although the Mt. Geumgang Tour content was not included in the ‘4.27 Panmunjeom Declaration’, as the leaders of the two Koreas have shown strong commitment to economic cooperation, the resumption of Mt. Geumgang Tour is gaining weight. Especially, expectations are rising for reunions of separated families to also resume.
New Industries That Will Rise Up!
An Inter-Korean Railway
North Korea has a rail-centered transportation system rather than roads. This indicates to us that the rail transportation system is the key to leading inter-Korean economic cooperation projects. Now, we experience some inconveniences to transport commodities from Seoul to Busan, and Busan to Russia. However, if the lines could get run from the Europe to Siberia, the transportation time will be reduced to about two days. Also, since Eurasia includes more than 60% of the world's GDP, it would certainly have a huge ripple effect in economy.
The Construction Industry
As you may know, there are a lot of buildings representing the ‘socialist system’ in North Korea. For example, the “Ryugyong Hotel” is famous for the 105-story largest hotel built in a pyramid style. On the other hand, in South Korea, there are relatively many freewheeling buildings such as “Lotte World Tower”, which is a multi-functional building. If North and South Korea reunify, then the construction industries will be active by applying these two styles of constructing buildings.
CBNU Students’ Thoughts about Reunification
1. Survey Purpose : To know about what university students think about the reunification of South and North Korea
2. Total participants: 119 CBNU students
3. Survey Conclusion
A Professor’s Idea of Reunification
-Interviewee: Professor Kim Chang-hee in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy
We sing out, “Our wish is reunification”. However, it is realistic to wish for peace between North and South Korea. Because, in order to reunite, two different structures need to grant that they need to coexist. In the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement(1991), the North and South’s ultimate form of reunification differs. Nevertheless, through the 6.15 Inter-Korean Joint Declaration(2000), North and South agreed that there is a common element in the South’s proposal about confederation and the North’s formula for a loose form of federation. Thus, the posture of both structures started to develop thoroughly. Finally, in 2018, the Panmunjoem Declaration was announced. It heralds the new era of peace. Reunification is a long way trip. In order to reunite, peace between North and South Korea is necessary. The basic premise for reunification is a peaceful relationship between North and South. Therefore structure for peace should be established first and foremost.
The division is an unforgettable pain for us and an assignment to be solved. But as time goes by, the pain gradually becomes less sensitive. However, we must remember the past history in which the nation had to suffer from the division and our people had to conflict each other. As a nation member, how about getting more attention to reunification not to think that it is unrelated to you?
Kim Hyun-ji Reporter, Hong Sammy & Kwon So-young Cub-Reporters