With President Moon Jae-in in office, the relationship between North and South Korea has been getting better. During the April 2018 inter-Korean summit, both President Moon and Supreme Leader Kim met in person and discussed the future of the Korean Peninsula. With this positive atmosphere, analysts are starting to debate about the chance of reunification.
Reunification with North Korea is something the South Korean government has wanted and strived for since long ago. The government was passionate enough to include the following in the Constitution of South Korea: “The Republic of Korea seeks unification and formulates and carries out a policy of peaceful unification based on the principles of freedom and democracy”.
Reunification can aid South Korea in many ways. Reuniting with North Korea will finally allow South Korea to have railroads connected all the way to China and Europe. This will not only make transportation comfortable, but help South Korea economically by improving the trade system. Reunification will also mean that the two-year mandatory military service South Korea forces on their male citizens is no longer necessary. Most importantly, the 5,000-year-old history the nations share will be able to continue once again.
There are also inevitable risks reunification will have that should be acknowledged. First of all, the two nations pursue totally different political beliefs. Since the division, North Korea started to run in dictatorship, whereas South Korea practiced democracy. Prior planning of which and how the government will run the country looks indispensable before reunification. Moreover, North and South citizens will have different political views and thoughts, possibly creating conflicts between the people. If reunification occurs, South Korea will have to foot the cost of absorbing North Korea, and this may lead to an increase in taxes. Furthermore, the current law, currency, and education system will all have to change if two two nations reunite.
Different people have different opinions on which is the better option. It is certainly more complicated as both sides have their own pros and cons. Whether they reunite or officially declare as two separate countries, the government will need to make their choice.
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