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제목 One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization*** 일자 2013.12.17
저자

Tae-Hwan Kwak

Serial No. (IFES Forum No. 13-12-16)
     Koreans wish to achieve Korean unification as a long-term goal, but it is regrettable that many obstacles hinder the Korean unification process. This essay attempts to propose one Korea unification formula through neutralization as an alternative to the two Koreas’ existing formulae. The rationale for one Korea neutralization-unification formula is provided, and a five-stage neutralization-unification formula is proposed. The Korean people as key players must work together for a neutralization-unification formula and persuade four major powers to support a neutralized, unified Korea, which will be in their best interests.
     A unified Korea through neutralization will never be easy and smooth. It will take many years of preparation and patience to achieve a unified, neutralized one Korean state. The ROK and the DPRK have insisted on their own unification formulae. Seoul cannot accept Pyongyang’s Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo (DFRK) formula, while Pyongyang cannot accept Seoul’s Korean National Community (KNC) formulaeither. Hence, it is argued that a neutralization-unification formula could be an alternative to the existing unification formulae because of conflicting approaches to Korean unification between the two Koreas. This essay will discuss a roadmap for implementing a five-stage neutralization-unification formula to construct a unitary, unified, neutralized and advanced welfare state on the Korean peninsula.
 
Peace through Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula (PNKP)
 
     The author would like to propose a unified Korea through neutralization regime building based on the concept of peace through neutralization on the Korean peninsula (PNKP). Its concept is relatively easy to understand. If the two Koreas make all efforts to neutralize the extreme thinking, hard-line policy and behavior, then national reconciliation, harmony of interest, and peace between them will ensue. In that direction, there will be a smooth road to a peaceful unification of Korea.  A unified Korea will remain a non-aligned, neutralized state, seeking a balanced security and foreign policy.
     The concept of PNKP should be considered at three levels: (1) the South Korean domestic level, (2) the inter-Korean level, and (3) the international level. First, ideological cleavages between conservatives and progressives in South Korea need to be resolved through PNKP, and national consensus on a neutralization unification formula then needs to be achieved. Without neutralizing ideological cleavages in South Korea, there will be no national consensus. Second, inter-Korean reconciliation, cooperation, and peace through neutralization need to be achieved for a neutralized, unified Korea. Third, a unified Korea will be a non-aligned, neutralized state, making no military alliance with any of the four major powers (the U.S., China, Japan, or Russia), maintaining a peaceful and balanced diplomacy with them. It is argued that the neutralization of the Korean peninsula will be in the best interest of the Korean people and the four powers, resolving intra- and inter-Korean ideological conflicts and promoting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The four major powers need to make firm commitments not to interfere in the domestic affairs of a unified Korea.
     A unified Korea would be a peaceful, neutralized, non-aligned state, offering a foundation for peace, security, and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia. In short, a neutralized peace regime on the Korean peninsula will be achieved if there is a national consensus on Korean unification through neutralization in the South and the North. In the near future, with some improvement in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and some progress in peace-regime building on the Korean peninsula, the Korean unification issue through neutralization could be discussed at the Six-Party Talks and/or multilateral talks.
 
Neutralization Regime-Building as an Alternative to Two Unification Formulae
     A unified Korea remains a future vision, not a reality for 75 million Koreans. The ROK and the DPRK have lived in a hostile confrontation for the last 68 years since the division of the Korean peninsula. Nevertheless, Seoul and Pyongyang have made little efforts to create a unified one Korean state by peaceful means. The reality is that the two Koreas have failed to agree on a common unification formula because of lack of political will to unify the Korean peninsula. The author has opposed a Korean unification by force, absorption, and incorporation. It appears that one Korea vision may be achieved by inter-Korean and international agreements through neutralization.
     Neutralization is designed as a means to promote national reconciliation, harmony of interest, peace,and unification on the Korean peninsula, where the interests of the four major powers intersect, mainlybecause of its geostrategic location. We cannot change geography in Northeast Asia, but we may change history by creating a unification formula through neutralization. A unified Korea’s independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty would be guaranteed by the four major powers concerned, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, surrounding the Korean peninsula for all times, permanently in times of war and peace under the condition that a unified Korea would permanently agree to renounce war except for self-defense.
     In the present Northeast Asian security environment, the four powers are unwilling to support Korean unification primarily because their interests are in conflict. However, a unified Korea through neutralization will benefit all parties concerned—the two Koreas and the four powers. A unified, neutralized Korea will be in the best interest of the four powers, and thus they will support a unified Korean peninsula through neutralization.
     The ROK and the DPRK need to be prepared for a unified, neutralized Korean peninsula.  First and foremost they must neutralize themselves by disengaging from the bilateral arms race, military provocations, ideological feuding, and military alliance systems. The two Koreas also have to promote national reconciliation, mutual trust and confidence building. Thus, inter-Korean relations must be improved and peaceful so that the two Koreas can negotiate with the four major powers on the     neutralization on the Korean peninsula. When a neutralization treaty between the two Koreas and the four powers is concluded, a divided Korea would be transformed into a peaceful and neutralized Korean peninsula.
     Neutralization on the Korean Peninsula is based on an assumption that the four powers would prefer a unified, neutral, independent, and peaceful Korea to a divided, unstable one. What’s more, a unified Korean peninsula is unlikely to change the overall strategic balance of power in Northeast Asia. Hence, the author believes that the four major powers are likely to support a neutralized, unified Korean peninsula, which will be in their best interests.
 
The Rationale for a Neutralization-Unification Formula on the Korean Peninsula
     What is the rationale for neutralization on the Korean peninsula? Why is a neutralization unification formula desirable? We will look into it from four perspectives. First, from a geopolitical perspective, the Korean peninsula has been a victim of a balance of power politics among major powers surrounding the peninsula for many centuries because of a geopolitical-strategic location, and thus neutralization will liberate the Korean peninsula from a balance of power politics.
     Second, from the four major powers’ perspectives, neutralization will be in best interests of the four major powers (the U.S., China, Russia, and Japan). Hence, they will be supportive of a neutralized, denuclearized, unified Korean peninsula.
     Third, from the perspectives of the two Koreas, Koreans have suffered from deep ideological cleavages between extreme conservatives and radicals, and neutralization could thus help resolve them. Neutralization could weaken ideological feudsamong South Koreans and between the two Koreas as well. Further, neutralization will reduce arms spending of the two Koreas, so the two would invest in economic development projects. In addition, neutralization could also diminish Pyongyang’s incentives for being a nuclear state, thereby accelerating the denuclearization and peace-regime-building process on the Korean peninsula.
     Fourth, from a unification formula perspective, the ROK and the DPRK have conflicting unification formulae and cannot accept each other’s present unification formula. Thus, the author proposes a neutralization-unification formula as an alternative to existing two Koreas’ unification formulae.
     It isargued that one of the core obstacles to the Korean peace and unificationprocessesis the absence ofa common Korean unification formula and a common ideology acceptable to the two Koreas. Transforming various conflicting ideologies such as socialism, Jucheideology (independence or self-reliance), Sungunjongchi(military-first politics), capitalism, democracy, and human rightsinto a common unification ideologyseemsan impossible task.  However, theidea of neutralization serving as a catalyst can contribute to aframework of Korean unification based on the traditional concept of a HongikIngan Tongilideology(wayof unification benefitingall). Therefore, we have proposed a Hongikideology as a common ideology of a unified Korea.
 
The Roadmap for Implementing a Five-Stage Neutralization-Unification Formula
 
     Neutralization based on a neutralized peace regime on the Korean peninsula is absolutely necessary for one Korean state building and will be a win-win strategy for all parties concerned. A neutralization-unification formula is based on a five-stage neutralization plan through inter-Korean economic-and-peace-community building to construct a unitary, unified, neutralized state. The neutralization-unification formula will be briefly discussed below.
     A neutralized Korea will enjoy a neutral status in time of war and peace in international law. The idea of a permanent neutralization on the Korean peninsula has been supported for many centuries by scholars, politicians, and intellectuals primarily because of geopolitical location of the Korean peninsula.Since the Korean peninsula has been a victim of balance of power politics, a neutralized Korean peninsula idea appeals to many people as a means to insure peace, security, and prosperity on the Korean peninsula. It is significant and encouraging that Dr. Sohn Hak-kyu, a senior advisor to the Democratic Party, made a proposal for the Korean peninsula neutralization-unification formula on 16 July, 2012.
     The Charter for Neutralization on the Korean peninsula was declared as a neutralization- unification formula on October 21, 2010 in Seoul, Korea. The Charter proposes the future vision for a unified Korea through a five-stage neutralization formula. A five-stage neutralization-unification formula for constructing a unitary, unified, neutralized state will be briefly discussed below.
 
The 1st Stage: Neutralization Preparation
     It is desirable that the ROK and the DPRK be normalized by concluding a basic treaty by confirming existing inter-Korean agreements.The ROK and the DPRKshould recognize each otheras an independent, sovereign stateand reaffirm inviolability of the territorial boundary drawn by the Korean Armistice Agreement of July 27, 1953until the conclusion of a Korean peninsula peace treaty.Apermanent missionin each other’s capital will be established with a normalization of inter-Korean relations.  They shall resolve their disputes by peaceful means, respecting the Charter of the United Nations by refraining from threat or use of force. They shall sincerely observe theinter-Korean agreements of the July 4 joint declaration, the 1992 inter-Korean basic agreement, the June 15, 2000 joint declaration and the October 4, 2007joint statement for promoting mutual confidence-building and a peaceful coexistence.
     The author has proposed that the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement needs to be replaced by a peace treaty signed by the four parties concerned (the U.S., China, and the two Koreas). Four peace agreements must be included in a Korean peninsula peace treaty: a U.S.-DPRK peace agreement, a South-North peace agreement, a U.S.-China peace agreement, and a China-ROK peace agreement. Without concluding a peace treaty to end the Korean War, it is meaningless to discuss a unification issue through neutralization. The peace-regime building on the Korean peninsula, along with the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is a top agenda item to be discussed at the four-party talks in the near future.
 
The 2nd Stage: Inter-Korean Neutralization-Unification Formula Agreement
     The ROK and the DPRK should agree to declare neutralization regime building on the Korean peninsula, and then they need to adopt a South-North joint agreement for a neutralization-unification formula. The ROK and the DPRK would appear to have many difficulties in agreeing on a common unification formula based on the DFRK and KNC formulae. The fusion of the North’s unification formula and the South’s plan is more difficult to be achieved than an agreement on the neutralization-unification formula. The two Koreas need to have political will to agree on the neutralization roadmap.
     A neutralization agreementbetween the ROK and the DPRK,includinga neutralization declarationwill be concludedwith a provision setting up an interim de jure joint unification commission titled“The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC).”  The JSUC,consisting of equal numbers from the South and the North and appropriate numbers from overseas Koreans, not exceeding two hundred(200) members all together, and the highest jointorgan to manage Korean unificationprocedures, has the following structures and roles.
     The JSUC will electits standing committee members of twenty (20) representing equal numbers of the South and the North with a few members representing overseas Koreans, and has itsSecretariat.The JSUC willbe in charge of establishing institutional arrangements for establishingthe United Republic of Corea (the URC), preparingfor the URC constitution, designing a new national flag, composinga new national anthem, and designatinga new capital for the URC.
     The JSUC will establish a Joint Arms Control and Disarmament Commission toreappraise and adjust the armed forces for the neutralized URCand a Joint Military Command Structure to present a united front to any foreign intervention.The JSUC will be in charge ofnegotiatingat any time with any foreign countriesconcernedand international organizations for achieving apeaceful unificationthrough neutralization. At this stage, it is expected that an inter-Korean economic community will be established through interim stages of confederation and possibly federation as specified in June 15 (2000) joint statement. There are still two states, two systems and two governments on the Korean peninsula. An inter-Korean confederation will be set at this stage.
 
The 3rd Stage: International Neutralization Treaty
     Korean unification through neutralization could not be achieved without international cooperation because the four powers’ interests intersect on the Korean peninsula. The four Powers(the U.S., China, Russia and Japan) willconclude a neutralization treaty with the two Koreas and later the URC, recognizing its permanent neutrality status and its non-alignmentpolicy. The treaty endorsed by the United Nations will be registered at theUN Secretariat.  The four powers will guarantee a neutralized Korean peninsula. The treaty should be registered at UN Secretariat and it should be endorsed by the United Nations. This stage may be in an inter-Korean federal status.
 
The 4th Stage: Neutralization Constitution
     The two Koreas will draft and adopt a neutralization constitution which will be approved by the Korean people, and then general elections will be prepared in the entire Korean peninsula according to the new constitution for constructing unified one Korea: one state, one system and one government.
 
The 5th Stage: General Elections/One Korea
     There will be general, democratic elections in the entire Korean peninsula to establish one Korean state. A neutralized, denuclearized, unified Korean state will be born through general elections. The name of anew unified, neutralizedKorea willbe
the United Republic of Corea(the URC) founded on a Korean traditionalideology of
Hongik Tongil,peace, liberal democracy,human rightsand market economy. The URC, denouncingwar, recognizinga peaceful settlement of any international disputes and
declaring a permanent neutrality, will preserve and ensure its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, sincerelycarryingout its obligations of neutrality. The URC, a member of the United Nations, will be a peaceful, non-aligned, neutralized state which is defensive and armed, defendingits independence and territorial integrity against attack by any foreign country with all available means. Neutrality is an
obligation of the state, not of the individual citizen, therefore citizens have no obligation
to remain neutral; they may freely express their own opinions.
     The URCand the four powers will establish three enforcement machineries: a
Peace ObserverTeam, an International Tribunal, and a Board of Guarantors, each
consisting of fivemembers - one from each country toguarantee the permanent
neutrality of the URC. The Peace Observer Team willinvestigate and verify any
violations of the neutrality law and submit its reportto the International Tribunal.The
International Tribunal willrender its judgments on the findingsfrom the Peace
Observer Team and send its recommendations to the Board of Guarantors, which will
implement the recommendations from the International Tribunal with all available
means, and it may even resort to the armed forces of the member states to defend the
permanent neutrality of the URC.These machineries willbe dissolved when the
permanent neutrality is firmly established.
 
The five-stage neutralization-unification formula in <Table 1> provides a roadmap for building one Korean state on the Korean peninsula.
 
<Table 1> Roadmap for a Five-Stage Neutralization-Unification Formula
 
 
1st
Stage: Neutralization Preparation
 
Normalization of Inter-Korean relations through an inter-Korean basic treaty.
Peace and neutralization regime-building: implementation of existing inter-Korean agreements/ denuclearization/ a Korean peninsula peace treaty will be signed.
2nd
Stage:
Inter-Korean Neutralization-
Unification Formula Agreement
 
A neutralization regime declaration on the Korean peninsula.
A neutralization-unification formula agreement between the ROK and the DPRK: Establishment of a joint unification commission,“The South-North Joint Supreme Unification Council (JSUC),” 200 members; the Standing Committee(20 members); the Secretariat; Joint Arms Control and Disarmament Commission andJoint Military Command Structure forjoint measures againstany foreign
intervention. Establishment of inter-Korean economic community through interim stages of confederation and federation as specified in June 15 (2000) joint statement. 2 states, 2 systems and 2 governments. Inter-Korean confederation stage.
3rd
Stage:
International Neutralization Treaty
A conclusion of a neutralization treaty between the two Koreas and the four major powers (the U.S., Russia, China, and Japan)and later the URC, recognizing its permanent neutrality status and its non-alignmentpolicy.The four powers’ guarantees on aneutralized Korean peninsula. This stage may be in an inter-Korean federal status.
 
4th
Stage:
Neutralization Constitution
 
Draft of a unified, neutralized constitution and approval by Korean people. Two Koreas’ adoption of the Constitution. One Korea vision: 1 state, 1 system and 1 government.
5th
Stage:
General Elections/One Korea
 
Holding of  general, democratic elections on the entire Korean peninsula/
Establishment of a neutralized, denuclearized, unified one Korea/UN member.
The United Republic of Corea (the URC) founded on a Korean traditionalideology of Hongik Tongiland peace, freedom, equality, democracy, justice and human rights; The URC, a peaceful, non-aligned, neutralized state, and defensive and armed, defendingitsindependence and territorial integrity.
 
 
 
 
     The realization of the five-stage Korean unification through neutralization requires the political will of the two Korean top leaders and many years of research and preparation. Now is the time for the Korean people to seriously engage in research on the neutralization-unification formula. The ROK and the DPRK must take the initiative to persuade the Korean people and the four major powers to accept a neutralized unification formula to construct a unified one Korean state.
       Seoul and Pyongyang need to begin building mutual trust, first ceasing their arms race, avoiding military confrontation, and gradually engaging in military-security confidence building between the two Koreas. The two Koreas need to engage in improving inter-Korean relations by reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula and eventually constructing an inter-Korean economic community. It will take a long time for the two Korean states to conclude a neutralization treaty with the four major powers, and the Korean people must be patient and vigilant with political will to establish a neutralized, unified Korea. One must understand that there is a long, difficult road ahead to achieve a neutralized, unified Korean peninsula.
 
Further Research Needed
      We have proposed a neutralization-unification formula as an alternative to the two Koreas’ existing formulae. The rationale for neutralization on the Korean peninsula has been provided and a five-stage unification formula through neutralization has been proposed for further research.
     The DPRK’s nuclear issue has been a key obstacle to the peace process on the Korean peninsula, and its denuclearization process has been long stalled. Pyongyang reactivated its nuclear facilities and conducted nuclear tests, violating the 19 September, 2005, joint agreement. To resume the long-stalled Six-Party Talks, the U.S. and the DPRK produced the 29 February 2012 agreement. Again, Pyongyang violated U.N. Resolutions 1718 and 1874 and the 29 February agreement by launching a satellite using a three-stage rocket on 13 April and 12 December, 2012. The UN Security Council unanimously passed the Resolution 2087 on 22 January 2013. The DPRK viciously reacted in words, declaring its intention to abandon the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on 12 February, 2013. As a result, a new crisis on the Korean peninsula arose in the spring of 2013. But with the resumption of the long-stalled Six-Party Talks under China’s mediation, it is expected that the denuclearization process on the Korean peninsula will be restarted in the near future.
     The DPRK’s amended constitution is now referred to as the “Kim Il Sung-Kim Jong Il Constitution.” The preamble credits Kim Jong Il with turning “our motherlandinto an ever-victorious power of political thought, a nuclear power and an invincible military power and opened a great, brilliant path to the construction of a powerful and prosperous nation.” Whether the DPRK will resume the denuclearization process, thus abandoning a nuclear power status, remains to be seen.
     The road to a unified Korea through neutralization will be long, rough,and difficult, but the Korean unification process has already begun. In the short-term, the denuclearization and peace-regime-building processes on the Korean peninsula should be pursued simultaneously. The unification process will be accelerated with the denuclearization and peace-regime-building processes on the Korean peninsula. The Korean people as key playersmust work together for a unified Korean peninsula and persuade major powers to support a neutralized, unified Korea, which will be in their best interests. Once again, the Korean people must understand that their firmdeterminationwill eventually build a new, neutralized and advanced welfare state through neutralization with full support and cooperation of the four major powers.<The End>
 
***This essay is a part of paper titled “One Korea Unification Vision through Neutralization: What Should Be Done?,” which waspresentedat the Global Peace Convention 2013, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,December5-8, 2013.



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