Unification may be close at hand

The so-called followers of North Korea have been inactive in South Korea lately. It has become harder to spot demonstrators with red bands around their foreheads. Also, the once controversial Lee Seok-Ki incident is becoming a distant memory, especially as the political party that supported Lee has been dissolved.

Perhaps it is due to the narrowing of the North Korean base in South Korea, but North Korea is becoming increasingly offensive. Using vile language, the North continues to threaten South Korea, even threatening to turn South Korea into a “sea of fire.” About a week ago, two young South Korean soldiers were critically wounded by landmines in the DMZ that North Korea planted. It is encouraging to hear that South Korea, in response, decided to restart propaganda broadcasts, using dozens of loudspeakers pointed toward North Korea, a tactic that had not been used for 11 years. Although some people are uncomfortable with our government’s decision to use peaceful means rather than force to retaliate against North Korea’s actions, this is the optimal choice for now.

As a seeming first step in its plan to consume South Korea in the “sea of fire,” North Korea has installed an artillery platform targeting South Korea on the ocean front near Yeonpyeong Island, only a few kilometers from South Korean territory. According to recent polls, most young South Koreans want to continue to live in peace with the North as a divided nation. No one is against peaceful cohabitation as a family, but the reality is a stark contrast. South Korea has continued to offer humanitarian assistance by providing essential provisions such as rice, fertilizer and medicine, and many Christian organizations are also providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea. Yet, despite the decades of assistance, North Korea’s verbal and military threats are getting worse. Therefore, it is time to review our policy toward North Korea, which continues to humiliate us.

The U.S. has finally reached a nuclear agreement with Iran through President Barack Obama’s strong determination. The deal waits congressional approval, but I do not doubt that it will pass because Obama made it clear that he will exercise his veto power if it fails.

Now that Iran has agreed to cease its nuclear proliferation program, the world will focus its attention on North Korea, the only nation that makes threats using nuclear weapons as a bargaining tool. We have endured North Korea’s threats for a long time, and we must show our determination for a peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula. To accomplish this, we are in dire need of U.S. support.

With Iran out of the picture, if the U.S. decides that peaceful reunification is the best route to resolve North Korea’s nuclear proliferation, it is likely that the U.S. will fully support reunification efforts. It is in the best interests of the US as well, because pressure on the already tight American defense budget ― which has been stretched to deal with North Korea’s nuclear threats ― will ease.

If North Korea falls apart, South Korea will be inundated with hungry North Koreans. To accommodate their immediate needs, we need money ― lots of it ― to prepare for their food, accommodation, immunization, medicine and other services.

During World War II, foreseeing that the U.S. would eventually be dragged into the war, President Roosevelt issued war bonds. He was successful in instilling patriotism in Americans, which resulted in huge financial backing to fund the war and keep the U.S. economy vibrant after the war.

Likewise, we need to issue reunification bonds. The Assembly no doubt would support such a move. We Koreans collected and donated gold rings and bangles during the IMF crisis to help repay the nation’s debt without asking for a cent in return ― we are the only country to demonstrate such patriotism. With our strength pulling us together, reunification bonds are bound to become a success. The reunification bonds would be a bonanza, as their value would increase once the two Koreas reunify.

Many experts in the U.S. have been imagining the effects of the two-Korea reunification with access to Manchuria, as well as to the Tumen river valley that connects Vladivostok in Russia, China and North Korea. Reunification is an opportunity for the united Koreas to reach deep into the Asian continent. Reunification is the way to the future, offering unlimited challenges and an excellent channel to resolve youth unemployment completely.

Further, with the nuclear threat extinct in North Korea, we will be able to contribute to world peace. Ultimately, the experts predict that a reunified Korea will become a G7 country, rising from its G20 status, within five years of reunification. This means Korea would surpass Japan.

These experts are aware of Korean strengths that shine in the face of crisis. Let’s issue the reunification bonds, and let’s spread the news to North Korea engaging the methods we use now. Reunification may be nearer than we think.

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