Saturday, May 16, 2009

The End of Sunshine

From the Washington Times:

Pyongyang on Friday unilaterally nullified all agreements that it has signed with Seoul over the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Zone in North Korea, a move that was immediately rejected by the South.

In a statement released by state-run media, North Korea said it was redrawing all bilateral contracts related to wages, tax and land use. If they do not accept the new conditions, South Korean firms "are free to leave Kaesong," the statement said

. . . .

The dispute threatens the operation and existence of the last material achievement of the decade-long "sunshine policy" of engagement with North Korea, as well as South Korea's long-term blueprint to upgrade its neighbor's basket-case economy by gradual expansion of the complex.

I know very little about the provisions of South Korea's "Sunshine Policy" other than the name . . . but hey, why should that stop me from shooting off an ill-informed opinion? So here it goes:

As a business decision, building capital plant in the PRK is so colossally stupid that it serves as evidence for something I've long suspected. I don't think that South Korea is afraid of the Stalinist dictatorship to its north. I rather think they need that dictatorship to hold back the millions of refugees that would come flooding south were that dictatorship to collapse. Kim's captives have become so wretched that integrating them into South Korea, in the manner of East Germany's integration into West Germany, would be so catastrophically ruinous to South Korea that they are quite happy doing whatever they can to keep its dictatorship going.

I can't really admire that way of thinking. But I can't say I blame them for it either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spot on about North & South Korea. An ideal reunification would involve something along the lines of a Marshal Plan combined with our GI program to grow the North Korean economy in situ before final reunification.