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Koreans look to Germany for reunification advice

The Local · 18 Nov 2011, 07:32

Published: 18 Nov 2011 07:32 GMT+01:00

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The countries have set up a joint committee in the South Korean capital Seoul to help prepare for the daunting task: Everything from dealing with differences in transport infrastructure to helping integrate vastly different economies.

“We are beginning to intensify our own preparations for a reunification on a large scale,” said South Korean Unification Minister Yoo Woo Ik, adding that Germany could offer “an invaluable treasure of experience for us Koreans.”

The idea is to learn from Germany’s difficult experience of integrating its formerly communist eastern half after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The process has cost billions of euros, and remains incomplete more than two decades later.

Although West Germany was significantly more economically developed than East Germany, the differences between South and North Korea – divided since the end of the Korean war in 1953 – are even starker.

The North, led by mercurial dictator Kim Jong-Il is a bitterly poor and isolated Stalinist country while the South has become a regional economic success in recent years.

Nonetheless no country, other than Germany, has before confronted the challenges the Koreans would face in joining two hugely disparate economies and ways of life.

It’s not clear when Korean reunification might happen, although experts have long said that the North is teetering on the edge of economic and political collapse.

Story continues below…

The German-South Korean committee met for the first time this week and is slated to meet again in 2012.

The Local/DPA/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:47 November 18, 2011 by pepsionice
I don't see East Germany being in any fashion similar to North Korea. Just suggesting to a North Korea that is converting over to South Korea....that you can have electricity twenty-four hours a day, versus the current one hour....would be an utter shock (they've settled into accepting one hour a day for the past twenty years).
13:09 November 18, 2011 by Jerr-Berlin
I've worked in S. Korea in the mid 90's and most of the "professional" and business types that I've met don't want renunification, citing a torrential flood of millions of unskilled, undereducated and low-aid workers that would be catastrophic for the S. Korean society...haven't said that, there is an emotional attachment with N. Korea for those that have familial relations there...in anycase, the situation cannot at all be compared to Germany's reunification history...
18:23 November 18, 2011 by Englishted

I am surprised by your comment as it would be a first for "professional" and business types not to want a super cheap workforce it goes against all capitalist principals(a bit of a contradiction in terms I know).

It is the basis of the E.U.expansion Eastwards .
18:37 November 18, 2011 by Beachrider
The differences between N&S Korea loom larger than the E&W Germany issues ever were. The problem is that there is NOTHING that gives a really-good model. They are just looking at a recent activity that has SOME things in common:

- Dissolution of a Stalinist state into a western-style democracy

- Dealing with the separation/repatriation issues of citizens

- Attempts to start capitalist-methodology where it hasn't happened in many years

- Economic programs for re-integration

...Remember that the cultural separation in Germany also had class and religious undertones. This has also happened in Korea...
23:53 November 18, 2011 by wxman
Literally, the only comparison here is a divided country. Other than that, there is no similarity whatsoever. I lived in South Korea 40 years ago, and it would have been devastating then. Today, the south is light years ahead of the stone age north. Whoever thought this up is not a very deep thinker. The south trying to absorb a totally helpless, dependent and unskilled population nearly the size of the south would destroy their economy. Better to just let them go find their own way.
03:21 November 19, 2011 by wenddiver
LOL, North Korea may well just be the scariest place on earth. The worst of Soviet Russia combined with third world cave man attitudes and a Police Force the Stasi advised.

Basically, China if Kissinger has not opened the door.
04:47 November 19, 2011 by vonSchwerin
East Germany had one of the 50 largest economies in the world. Sure, it was no BRD in terms of economy, but it did have real industries and an educated workforce. The population couldn't travel freely in the West, but they had experience in the socialist world. North Korea's economy is a complete basket case, and the people have no clue about the outside world.

If the Koreans want to learn something from the Germans, it would be NOT to reunify -- or at least not nearly as fast the two Germanies.
14:36 November 20, 2011 by shahislam
Wow! They are becoming smarter to realize that it's time for "Border Lifting" before witnessing other pieces of lands like 'Bangladesh and India' etc. are becoming united again.

It's also right time to start thinking about new global laws are to be made and passed. For examples:

*Production and distribution of weapons (gun) of all kinds for ordinary public use is absolutely banned for eliminating crimes against humanity in every corner of this earth (e.g. Uncontrollable forever, the billion dollar narcotic and weapon businesses operated by drug cartels in South-America).

* Internationally legalization of unrestricted like vegetables: drug production and distribution; so that, wise good global citizens will hate to touch this vegetable and it will become a business without demand (same will be oil business situation as there is endless yet to be discovered energy reserves world wide). Note: In Holland, drug business is somewhat legalized but there is almost no crimes caused by the drug users. Crimes against humanity are being committed by the motivation of wealth-greedy thugs in control of political power over a period of more than a half century.

* All the countries of the world will independently operate their financial matters but as if they are municipalities of a globally united one country of one world.

* New deficit-free of totally balanced trades will mean: e.g. Germany will be able to export its fine Beer, chemical etc. products to Canada or India, Bangladesh etc. as much as it imports Timbers, plane parts etc. from Canada or Sea-salt, clothing etc. products from India, Bangladesh etc..

*Unproductive pieces of lands will continue be expanded enough to form a larger global municipality to be able to financially participate in the new United Nation financial programs; which will mean, without regular contribution, no more expectation of receiving free aids from UN power will be entertained.

Let's start with gaddafi's son (Saif, even he have no money in his pocket now) and then many too rich sons and daughters of rulers and leaders, whose only so thought qualification is obtained by hereditary transfer of ruler-ship, are to be followed by the demand of collective global public.

Well, I hope to see the Omni-powerful CC and ICC (@50%) would make it happen for him facing a fair trial instead of getting killed by bullying thugs in the control of gun power in Libya. New universally applicable laws can only make sure that the natural resources in the world, like Canada, Libya, USA, Venezuela, Saudi-Arabia's etc. are monetarily non-profiting but for the use of global public or eternal mankind and a new UN power under a selfless good leadership like "not greedy': Obama can guarantee changes in and /or implementations of new global laws.
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