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Old April 9th, 2013 (11:45 AM). Edited April 9th, 2013 by Kanzler.
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Kanzler Kanzler is offline
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North Korea does not have any allies through and through. They broke with the Soviets, as did the Chinese around the 60's with the ascent of Khrushchev and the Soviet abandoning on the Stalinist model. They also took advantage of this to break apart from the Chinese as well. The North Korean regime is also very anti-Chinese for the amount of aid they're getting. The Chinese used to have their people in North Korea, but they were sidelined as Kim Il Sung took absolute power. As well, China has been repairing relations with the US since the end of the Mao period. The North Korean interests have deviated from Soviet and Chinese interests for a long time. I don't know why you think the ex-communist countries are staunch allies. All of them had different views on communism and each other's regimes. If the Soviets and China helped encourage North Korean behaviour, it's probably because they figured that the two powers couldn't be trusted. What you claim about North Korea's former communist allies is just not true, at least not from my reading of history.

One of the reasons that the North Koreans have so little rights is to prevent them from learning about the prosperity in South Korea, which would undermine whatever legitimacy there is for the regime. Under a united Korea, this wouldn't occur. There also wouldn't be any anti-Americanism in the way we see it now, as China opened up to the US during the 70's and the Soviets during the late 80's. You say that North Korea would follow the same steps. Well I would agree to the point that South Korea and Spain also went through the same steps of military rule leading up to economic and democratic reform. It is highly unlikely, for the reasons I listed above, that North Korea would have any parallel to its regime today. In addition to uniting Korea, the Kim regime will have to deal with South Korean socialist and left-wing moderates instead of having a military core strengthened by war, the South, and breaking away from the Soviet Union and China. A Korea united under the North should at least be similar to Vietnam and China, but perhaps more so like China because it wouldn't be devastated by decades of war. In fact, a united Korea would be more industrialized than China was when it started. Hypothetically, if the two countries industrialized at the same time, Korea would end up industrializing faster.

The best reason I say that a united Korea would be different is the simple fact that there is no South. There is really no reason that a Korea united under the North would not open itself to the international community and trade. The only reason it cannot do that is because the regime would become irrelevant vs. the South. Remove this obstacle and there is really nothing stopping reform. In fact, North Korea as been starting to juggle economic reform recently. Let's not forget this time last year, everybody was speculating if the political shuffles going on meant that North Korea was preparing for reform. Reform is something that they have to consider in the context of its relationship to the south. If there was no south, there wouldn't be that obstacle.

Edit: To avoid double posting, Pak Pong-ju has been appointed Prime Minsiter, head of government, of Nort h Korea. He is reform-minded and well regarded in the defector community. There is another personality, Jang Sung-taek who is the uncle-in-law of Kim Jong-un, who has been to China to consider the formation of Special Economic Zones. For those of you who don't know, SEZ's have more free market-oriented policies than the rest of the countries - basically to encourage foreign investment. They've worked in China, so there are people in the leadership of North Korea who are still looking to liberalize their economy.
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