(Choe Un Ju, Research Fellow, Institute for Disarmament and Peace, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DPRK, 30 June 2016)
In Northeast Asia, major nuclear powers are neighboring with each other around the divided Korean peninsula and their strategic interests are quite intertwined.
Peace-loving nations in the region aspire after a peaceful and balanced strategic environment essential for the region to emerge as a locomotive engine that would expedite the world prosperity in the 21st century.
However, this is seriously challenged by the US Asia Pacific Rebalance Strategy aimed at containing China and Russia with the Korean peninsula under its control. Today, the US is putting pressure on China and Russia from the south and the west respectively under the pretext of intervening in the South China Sea disputes and the Ukraine turmoil. The US is attempting to use the Korean peninsula which borders with China and Russia, as its strategic bridgehead in tightening its encirclement around these countries.
China and Russia are expanding its level of military response and bilateral cooperation in order to cope with the US moves. Under these circumstances, Korea’s reunification has arisen as a very important issue that directly affects the overall strategic environment of Northeast Asia.
The respected Chairman KIM JONG UN, in his historic report to the seventh Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, set forth the line of ensuring durable peace on the Korean peninsula and realizing the federal mode of reunification upholding the banner of national independence and great national unity. It is the most suitable line that assures strategic balance in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Independent Reunification of Korea and Peace in Northeast Asia
The best alternative to ensure strategic security balance in Northeast Asia lies in establishment of an independent unified state in the Korean peninsula that would not lean on any particular country.
The DPRK maintains that Korea should be reunified independently under the banner of national independence and great national unity in conformity with the desire and interests of the Korean nation. The line envisages a peaceful reunification through inter-Korean agreement free from foreign interference and aims at an independent unified state which would not lean on any neighboring states even after reunification. This will not only eliminate the biggest danger of war in Northeast Asia but also contain the US strategy of domination, and further open up a prospect of balanced development and cooperation among the regional countries in a peaceful environment.
Turning down the proposal for inter-Korean dialogue by the DPRK, the south Korean authorities, backed by the US, are pursuing “unification of systems” that aims at extending its ideology and system to the DPRK.
The US, a self-invited outsider of the region, is seeking its own interests, trying to exploit the issue of the Korean peninsula in realizing its Asia Pacific Rebalance Strategy, paying little attention to the interests of the Korean peninsula and the regional countries. In order to find an excuse necessary for realizing its strategy the US constantly aggravates tension on the peninsula and interferes in the matters of the Korean peninsula, thus hindering its independent reunification.
In a nutshell, south Korea’s attempt to realize “unification of systems” in reliance on foreign forces and inter-Korean confrontation can never lead to reunification but will only create an environment favorable for the US Asia Pacific Rebalance Strategy by enhancing the US strategic position in the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Nowadays some of the distinguished scholars in neighboring countries maintain that Korea’s independent reunification could weaken the US influence over the Korean peninsula, prevent the neighboring countries from getting entangled in inter-Korean confrontation and yet allow them to maximize their strategic interests. Views are growing among them that the reunification mode pursed by the south Korean authorities should never be tolerated.
Peaceful Reunification of Korea and Prosperity in Northeast Asia
Reunification mode of Korea has great impact in ensuring peace and security not only on the Korean peninsula but also in Northeast Asia.
The country can either be reunified by peaceful or non-peaceful means.
The DPRK advocates reunification of the country by ensuring durable peace on the Korean peninsula through replacement of the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty and by founding a federal state on the basis of recognition and toleration of each other’s existing ideologies and systems in line with the desires and demands of the whole nation.
On the contrary, the US and the south Korean authorities constantly aggravate tension with joint military exercises and arms build-up while holding on to the current armistice so as to realize “unification of systems” across the peninsula.
The DPRK has firm will and strong capability to frustrate, through a sacred reunification war of justice, the US and south Korea’s extravagant attempts to realize “unification of systems” aimed at abolishing the DPRK system. This means that the DPRK has the power to decide life and death of the US and the south Korean regime. If a war breaks out, it will not be limited to the Korean peninsula but will turn into a large scale war covering the Pacific operational theatre and even the US mainland. Worse still, the whole of Northeast Asia would be plunged into a devastating war.
A peace treaty and reunification through federal mode would serve the purpose of dismantlement of the existing Cold war format in Northeast Asia that has been established and maintained with the Korean armistice as its core. This would also be a process of establishing a new balanced regional security architecture that ensures peace. This would not infringe upon the strategic interests of the neighboring countries that are desirous of stability in the peninsula and the region while having their already-established relations with both the north and the south of Korea intact. Furthermore, a systematic guarantee to protect and expand their rights and interests could be assured.
Therefore, ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula and reunifying the country through federal mode is a just and fair way to ensure regional peace and prosperity as desired by the neighboring countries whereas “unification of systems” is a dangerous attempt that will only result in military confrontation and nuclear disaster in Northeast Asia.
Responsibility of the US and Roles of Neighboring Countries
During the Cold War period, the US was quite successful in turning south Korea into its strategic strongpoint by freezing the division of the peninsula. Today the US is trying
to contain China and Russia by having the whole Korean peninsula under its heels. For this purpose, the US is intentionally aggravating tension in the peninsula and is using tension as its excuse to deploy its arms in a more offensive order and seeks to weaken the military power of its strategic rivals in the region by establishing missile defense system.
On the other hand, both China and Russia are not only closely following the US moves but also are strongly against them.
After the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the DPRK is very active in exerting its sincere efforts to replace the extreme tension with an atmosphere of dialogue and the neighboring countries wish for early removal of tension in the peninsula.
Driven by apprehensions to this, the US has a strong impulse to create a new excuse for high tension indispensible for its Asia Pacific Rebalance Strategy
The US has already made public its “precision air raid operation” to “disable” the DPRK’s nuclear and military facilities. Various strategic assets including nuclear-powered submarine Mississippi and a formation of “B-52H” strategic bombers flow into south Korea. More grave is that the DPRK-targeted missile warning drills is staged by the US, Japan and south Korean war maniacs. These are calculated moves to heat up tension which will surely lead to a point of no return unparallel to the August incident of 2015.
The US should be aware of the fact that the higher the tension on the Korean peninsula becomes, the greater the joint counter measures of the regional peace-loving states becomes, which would hasten the US strategic downfall. The US, the main culprit of Korea’s division, should withdraw its aggressive forces and war equipment from south Korea and keep its hands off the Korean peninsula issue. The US should immediately stop bringing into south Korea its strategic assets including nuclear-powered submarine and strategic bombers and completely stop dangerous joint military war exercises.
The south Korean authorities will bitterly regret its rejection of the DPRK’s proposal to adopt substantial measures to ease the military tension and danger of conflict, particularly along the Military Demarcation Line and in the hotspots on the West Sea and to expand the scope of this measure as the military confidence builds up.
The neighboring countries are kindly advised to clearly see that siding with the south
Korea’s anti-DPRK moves would eventually be equivalent to dancing to the tune of the US strategy aimed at containing the neighboring countries through south Korea-led “unification of systems”.
The only way that the neighboring countries can offer a fair and positive contribution to Korea’s reunification is to support inter-Korean agreements for cooperation and reunification so that reunification of Korea is achieved independently and peacefully.