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  • Writer's pictureChristensen

The Problem of Peace: The Korean Peninsula

Discussion Question: Is North and South Korea ready for peace? Will it happen in the next 5 years? Will the long-awaited reunification of the Korean peninsula happen?

a picture of peace...but is it real?

“US upbeat about North Korea…”[1] I’m not sure why the US, or the American government, is upbeat. What has North Korea done, other than repatriate a few bones? Have there been any major steps towards peace since last spring? Other than talk, there really seems no firm work towards peace. Before, there were joint projects such as the Kaesong Industrial Region.[2] Even though there is a government office that opened in the region, the factories themselves remain closed.[3] To me, this all just seems to be smoke and mirrors.

I remember sitting in my bedroom when I was 14 and watching people standing on top of the Berlin Wall and slamming hedge hammers onto the impenetrable wall. I remember also watching as tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square, and protestors died by the thousands. The wheel of history often throws the unexpected. So…maybe peace will finally come to the Korean peninsula.

I will be as happy as this guy if peace finally came here! :)

But are Koreans ready for it?

I have been asking this question of my students for the past two terms as the peace process has unfolded on television. Here is the typical discussion:

Me: So, do you think peace is possible here?

Student: No

Me: Why not?

Student: North Korea is not ready. And if we made peace with them right now, it would probably put us in a dangerous position.

Me: But what about East and West Germany?

Student: That was different. Both countries were at closer economic levels, and there weren’t atomic bombs to worry about.

These pointed down here are a bit scary.

I have seen the map change so many times during my lifetime that I would not be surprised if it did again. But North Korea doesn’t really seem willing to give up their nuclear weapons, and that seems to be the sticking point for the US. In my humble opinion, I think this is just a stalling attempt by North Korea (possibly as they find another mountain to do nuclear testing under) and only a convenient diversion for the Trump administration. Though, more importantly, South Koreans are not ready for a reunified peninsula, and they are at least half of the equation.[4][5]

What do you think? What are your insights into this situation?

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1 Comment

Claire O'Sullivan
Claire O'Sullivan
Jul 05, 2023

for NK to make peace would require a change to democracy. All one needs do is look at the success now of S. Korea and know that the difference is because of the war in the 50s. If now we are listening to Biden the east Chinese dictator, we'll lose S. Korea to NK as well as Taiwain AND the Phillipines and Japan (China is 'courting' them too!). I pray for peace not war. I pray for a change in government. I pray for those in NK who are suffering from every ailment and spiritual attacks. I don't see change possible without the change to a democracy.

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