In a world full of wars, the conflict between Pyongyang and Seoul is the one that will go down as the most volatile conflict in the history of human beings.
With a full blown out war already on the horizon between the two nations, the fact that many efforts have been made to establish peace process between North and South Korea can’t be easily ignored. But why all the efforts have proved futile? Let’s find out:
When the cold war came to an end in 1988, South Korean president Roh Tae-woo made it public that he wished to promote an exchange of trade between the two nations, including cultural leaders, political leaders, students etc.
But more than 10 years passed before actual exchanges could begin. In 2000, the two leaders met in Pyongyang for the first time after the split of the Korean territory. South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung assured North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, that the proposal for the peace process was to promote peaceful coexistence and not to absorb North Korea.
This policy of South Korea was known as Nordpolitik. Various initiatives were carried between the two nations after the initiation of the peacebuilding process. More than half a million people crossed the border between North and South Korea in lieu of social-cultural exchanges.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
According to some experts, the peace treaty fell apart due to change in the outlook America and South Korea had towards North Korea after 9/11. Another group of experts blames North Korea for being over ambitious towards achieving the status of becoming a nuclear power.
Both the reasons actually reflect the insecurities brewing inside Pyongyang for more than 60 years. When Japan was defeated in World War II, the Korean independence movement which had long fought Japanese colonial rule was not given its due recognition.
Instead, the northern half was occupied by the Soviet nation whereas the southern half was put under the control of America, thus leading to the split of the Korean peninsula.
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BLIND RESOLVE OF NORTH KOREA
The first North Korean leader, Kim II-sung, tried to reunite the two nations by force and attacked South Korea in 1950. But it was badly defeated and the war almost cost North Korea its existence. The country was only saved due to Chinese intervention.
Till now the country remembers how the U.S destroyed the country and how it almost used the atomic bomb on the Korean nation. Since then, the country has time and again justified its authoritative rule as a measure to control the influence of American culture.
Therefore, the peace process between North and South Korea ended after the events of 9/11 as North Korea saw America being a major influencer in the decisions taken for building peace between the two countries.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
There is a periodic display of military power by the joint force of the U.S and South Korea and in its response, Pyongyang has developed an entire fleet of nuclear weapons. Now, this is not the right step to achieve peace between two countries in conflict.
The insecurities of North Korea must be taken into due consideration, which it has harbored for more than 60 years. On the other hand, it would not be wise on Seoul’s part to kneel to all the demands of the nuclear-capable Pyongyang.
Re-establishing cross-border relations and peace is the only way through which nuclear ambitions of North Korea can be kept in check and the condition of its citizens improved.
But this solution oversimplifies the politically charged, highly twisted ‘K-drama” type situation between the two nations. Till the time peace is not achieved, we can only hope that Kim Jong-un does not drop a nuclear warhead on our heads and starts World War III. Peace out (pun intended).
Image credits- Google