Friday 19 January 2018

North and South Korea in 10 years' time?

This article first appeared on the Otoom Facebook and LinkedIn  page on 11 January 2018. Its real home is here.

North and South Korea are holding talks (yet again, but still). May I suggest a possible situation in, say, 10 years' time.

The two Koreas are united, the (previous) North benefiting from the economic strength of the (previous) South, the South benefiting from the nuclear capability of the North. China benefits from a border nation that does not invite ongoing opprobrium from the rest of the world which so often disturbs its own plans. An ever more dissolute US will be largely on the side lines as far as Asia, represented by its major economic and political powers, is concerned. The EU, stronger than ever, is in a position to take advantage of the increasing might of Asia, no longer having to deal with a relatively distant Britain since that nation has now left the Union and has reverted to its traditional alignment with the US.

An educated guess perhaps, but educated nevertheless. Consider the dynamics as they exist.

The Korean War has never been resolved, and through all this time the North saw itself on the defensive but proved to itself the capacity to overcome so many difficulties even if that meant resorting to circumvention tactics. Those difficulties it can do without. The South opened itself to the world and competed successfully, partly supported by the US but essentially because they could. Despite all that, North and South are one people hampered by existing treaties and pacts. Yet blood is thicker than ink; in Asia that matters. China is forging ahead with its One Road policy, and unfettered economies can only be an advantage. All the while the US has demonstrated its lack of understanding during its participation in so many conflicts (it failed in Vietnam, it made matters arguably worse in the Middle East, and for 70 years its role in the Koreas didn't bring that conflict to a solution either). Britain's secession from the EU diminishes its own status, but enhances that of the EU due to the relocation of so many economic entities to the continent. And in any case, Britain was never really on the same page as continental Europe, while its alignment with the US entails for it the consequences of anything the US invites for itself.

All this can be identified. The only question is, do Asian leaders draw such conclusions and if so, what exactly is happening behind the scenes already?