Distorted Security Value in Korean Peninsula
Kim Jin Wook (President of KRIMA)
Coming to India and reading couple a thesis written by Indian young scholars here reminds me of again that there has been a distorted Security concepts and structure in Korean peninsula which did drive me to be motivated for founding KRIMA (Korea Research Institute of Military Affairs).
As we have a saying in Korea 'Help from outsider reads better than the player of Changgi', it is true that outsider from interests of Korean Peninsula can find the fact out better and reads the historical context better. What is more useful than those is their objectivity. Of course, because they are not the Korean natives as we have such like a predestined fate, there surely are some casual misunderstandings and miss-perceptions naturally. I want to describe couple a points about which I have thought for a little while staying in India.
Why not changed in Korean Peninsula after post-cold war?
Why had nothing changed on the Korean Peninsula since the 1953 Panmunjom armistice that ended the Korean War? Why does antagonism still exist between both states in Korean peninsula? If the reason for insecurity in the peninsula had been predominantly the Cold War or ideology conflict as in Germany or Eastern Europe countries, the hostility would have seized to exist after the demise of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War.
It is not going that way in the Korean peninsula. It is because there are still certain political factions who are struggling for their own political power in both states which is not for people and not for peace in the Korean peninsula. It has become clear that there was not ideology, not good will for people but only a few men's political power struggle.
It was not because of the Cold War or ideology conflict but political partisan struggles. And it will be surely continued in the future of Koran peninsula. So we have to analyze and solve this kind of internal political partisan struggles and its attributes first.
The virtual alliance system of cold war and post-cold war in the Korean peninsula are affected by the structural environment. But there was a more considerable influencing factor upon continuity and change of Security Structure in the Korean peninsula. It is internal hegemony struggles and the political leaders' personalities.
Why South Korea didn't participate armistice talks which is in the aftermath a major factor for the initiative struggling of legitimacy on both Korea. The reason why South Korea didn't participate armistice talks is because of the character of the first President Rhee who denied sitting with communist invaders at the same table and the truce without unification.
It became one of the strong demerits for South Korea to compete the legitimacy with North Korea. However that kind of dignity of political leaders and internal hegemony struggles in South and North Korea will be still the important factors of decision making to form contours of the security paradigm in Korean peninsula in the future.
What is real security value? State Security, Party Security or People's Security?
After the liberation from Japanese colony in 1945, would the merger of internal parties in Korean Peninsula quite obviously not be possible in the very beginning because of super-powers' potential intentions? Yes, there surely was international causes around Korean peninsula at that time as the theory of neo-realists explain but I would emphasize there was strong internal ideational struggles and partisan spirits which was more influential to worsen the situation of Korean peninsula culminating in the War.
Kim Koo was strongly against the provisions of the trusteeship or partition but as trends towards partition became more pronounced, he accepted it. Why Kim Koo strongly against the provisions of the trusteeship or partition and why later he accepted partition. Why Kim Koo's attitude was changing is the key point for defining the essence of the situations of Korean peninsula and who and what was the real patriotism, real people's interest deliverer and real perception of security value rather than partisan political interest.
Kim Koo denied the trusteeship or partition for the country-oriented interest rather than his political interest and he accepted the partition for people's interest and the peace in the Korean peninsula later according to the worsening partisan conflict situation. I can't help pointing out that perception, it is because of the importance of that conception on the continuity and change of security paradigm in the Korean peninsula, and why civil community power in South Korea comes out gaining political legitimacy and to draw the emerging contours of the security paradigm in the post-cold war era.
It will be getting more important to make it clear who is real peace-loving person, who is real patriot and who percepts real security value in the future rather than who and which is now playing a greater role on the forming security paradigm.
What is legitimacy and representative in Korean Peninsula?
There has been the legitimacy and representative competition between both Korea which used to be a main reason for identity of both sovereignties. Because both Korea didn't have authority for the government the legitimacy and representative competition has been fiercely carried during and post Cold War. North Korea didn't have the authority from UN agreement. South Korea didn't have the authority from the representative of the government officials with appointment of former officials who used to serve at dictating Japanese government.
The legitimacy and representative competition between both Korea is still going on. It will also be a good factor to analyze the continuity and change in the post-cold war era and draw the emerging contours of the security paradigm in Korean peninsula. So it is needed to make it clear what legitimacy and representative in Korean peninsula are.
Is it people's vote? Is it international support or circumference structural variables and advantages? Is it actual power in military or economy? Is it welfare or freedom for the people? Justice or Truth? Or goodwill for the unification? No. It would be and should be only peace in the peninsula at present and in the future. Therefore there are growing multitudes in Korea who don't want unification with conflicts but partition with peace. That wisdom will be a good factor for forming the security structure in the peninsula as the people in Korea are getting matured politically.
What should be major factors in the future?
Why in North Triangle there were DPRK-PRC treaty and DPRK-USSR treaty but not PRC-USSR treaty and in South Triangle why there were USA-ROK and USA-Japan treaty but not Korea-Japan treaty. This analysis is strongly needed for defining the properties of the virtual alliance system in the Korean peninsula during the Cold war, the continuity and change in the post-cold war era and then to draw the emerging contours of the security paradigm in the peninsula and the Asia-Pacific area.
That is on what and how mutual countries give and take mutual interests. There was strong need for something to exchange between mutual countries in DPRK-PRC, DPRK-USSR and USA-Korea. As we well know those are security assurance and economic support for one side and block-formation and initiative for the other side in return.
Actually those are not imminent or serious between mutual countries in USSR-PRC and Korea-Japan differently because of historical antagonism or companionship in Ideology as writer argues. Not Ideology and not historical antagonism but security assurance and economic relations will also be the key factors for drawing the emerging contours of power structure in the peninsula and the Asia-Pacific area which deservedly cultural factors and civil society movement will be added to in the future.
Why did South Korean President Rhee want US army to stay in Korean peninsula after the War, and Why did not North Korean leader Kim Ilsung want PRC army to stay in Korea after the War. That's just because of geographical reason. Both the states wanted to be independent even though they needed assistance from their allies. If China was far away geographically from North Korea, Kim Ilsung's way how to manage China would be different. Geographical variables will be a great factor for drawing the emerging contours of the security paradigm in the peninsula.
What should be major factors for constructing security paradigm in Korean peninsula in the future? They are definitely No.1 The value of independence, No.2 The people's security and No.3 The economic interests and cultural variables.
Lately the concept of 'One nation and two states' is getting natural to Korean people. Even to me the concept of two states was impossible in my mind for a long time. After reading the papers here in India, I found the thought that each one side of Korea should be overriding the other side of Korea for the unification at any cost by its initiative was so stupid.
That thought was strange to some Indian scholars their thoughts of which used to be very strange to Korean People including me. The unwillingness on the part of the regimes to accept the territorial division of the peninsula and the concept one nation and two states led to mounting tension and frequent clashes all along the 38th parallel. Because of that foolishness we made a War in the peninsula and killed the virtual people more than a million.
There are, of course, several other motivations yet the main purpose of KRIMA is to create objective Security Strategies that most effectively serve for the Korean People as a whole rather than any particular political individuals, any privileged groups or factions and any regional super-powers. Therefore studying here in India will be very helpful for me to find out how and what direction I could steer the institute of KRIMA in the future.