Panov Alexander, Ryssias position and role in Korean unification
26.04.2013 .

Ryssia's position and role in Korean unification

Alexander Panov, Doctor of Political Science

The leaders of the USSR always supported the ruling regime of Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang even when in some periods Moscow was unhappy with its a pro-Chinese policies or was not satisfied with the fulfillment of the DPRK commercial obligations before the Soviet side.

Moscow was also not agree to all of Pyongyang requests for military-technical assistance, sending a signal to the North Korean leadership that the USSR is not in favour of plans to repeat the war on the Korean Peninsular.

The perspective of the North-South Unification was never raised by Soviet leaders and never was discussed even theoretically by Soviet scholars. It is interesting to mention, that the possibility of the unification of the East and the West Germany not openly, but was analyzed by Soviet scholars, who prepared their recommendations on this problem to the Soviet leadership.

But in case of Korean problems the very idea of possible unification of two countries after devastating and cruel civil war was regarded as absolutely unrealistic.

The Soviet Union, as we know, recognized the West Germany and established full diplomatic relation with Bonn but did not show intentions to do the same with Seoul. Only in the end of Gorbachev era Moscow decided to start normalization
of the relations with South Korea and established official relations with Seoul only
in 1990.

After the break-up of the USSR, new Russian democratic leaders started to regard North Korea as a country which does not have with Moscow any common values and as an undesirable partner. Political and military contacts stopped almost completely.

Russia officially informed Pyongyang that Moscow under new conditions does not have any intentions to fulfill its obligation to defend the DPRK as it was fixed in the bilateral Treaty of 1961 - Treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between the USSR and the DPRK.

Geographically Russia borders the Korean Peninsular for 18 kilometers along the Tumen River. Historically, from the mid of 19th century onward for almost 150 years Russia have been involved in the peninsular.

Now Russia is interested to maintain normal relations with both South Korea and North Korea.

Russia has its own advantage of many decades of close relations with the North Korean elite and though the influence to its position is now limited, still Russia has a possibility to help to promote the positive evolution of the system and elite in North Korea.

In relations of Russia with North Korea the pragmatic mood prevails. Russia delivers oil, food and other commodities to Pyongyang only in accordance with its obligations associated with progress at the six-party talk and sanctions of the United Nations.

The Russian auto plant Kamaz opened assembly line, specializing in the production of medium-size trucks named "Taelbecksan-96". In 2007 only 50 trucks were assembled.

Russia is interested to open a trans-Korean railway, by connecting Rajin and the rest of Northern Korea to Trans-Siberian railroad. This will help to transit of South Korean and japanese cargo which could be send via Russian territory to Central Asian and European markets.

Eighty percent of overall bilateral economic trade between Russia and North Korea consists of barter between the regional areas. The most active Russian regions trading with the DPRK are Eastern Siberia and the Far East. Maritime province (Primorsky Kray) exports to North Korea 4 million dollars worth of refined oil for year. Instead of money the local government receives the labors from North Korea.

North Korean laborers in Siberia and the Far East were common during Soviet Union-North Koreans relations. And this continues today. Every year 3-5 thousand North Koreans come to Russia to work as woodcutters and builders but some have also managed to find work in agricultural and marine industry. Through the presence of these laborers, Russia has enjoyed a partial repayment of the DPRK's post Soviet dept. During the Soviet era, the DPRK incurred a debt of approximately 8 billion dollars, which Pyongyang still owes to Moscow but cannot repay.

Under the market economy principles Russia is not interested to provide to North Korea Soviet-type assistance. The Russian private sector is demonstrating lack of interest in doing business in North Korea.

Russia-North Korea economic link are very limited and weak. Bilateral trade is not growing and sluggish at the level of 100-150 million dollars a year.

In 2000 President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea. In 2001 and 2002 the leader of North Korea twice traveled to Russia. But these visits produced very few practical results.

But without political dialog and economic exchanges with North Korea Russia will close all possibilities to positively influence the policy of Pyongyang and this will have negative effect on general situation on the Korean Peninsular and on relations between North and South.

Russia strategy is to have good neighborly relations with North Korea and South Korea. But it is clear that taking into consideration many factors it is impossible to have the same level of the relations with Seoul and Pyongyang. Moscow doesn't see any restrictions for developing strategic partnership with Seoul. As far as for Russian-North Korean relations they have limits, which are created by fundamental differences in political, economic and social structures of the two countries.

For Russia South Korea is a dynamic and promising state of the very important East Asia region and a member of the G20, which hosted 2010 summit in Seoul.

In the end of XXth century South Korea managed to join the ranks of developed countries with its new industrial economic model, successfully expanding foreign trade.

Twenty years following the normalization of relations, South Korea has become the third largest economic partner of Russia in the Asia-Pacific region. The scale of cooperation continues to expand, with particular attention being paid to joint investment projects (the accumulative value of South Korean investments in Russian economy in 2009 totaled 1,5 billion dollars).

For Russia the top priorities are stability and development, promotion of its economic interests in the region with the aim of developing the Far East.

In November 1992 during the visit to Seoul of President Boris Yeltsin "The Treaty of the Basic Relations between Korea and Russia" was signed, which stated that both countries shared a "friendly and cooperative relationship".

When in 1994 President Kim Young-Sam visited Moscow Russia and Korea named their relations as a "constructive and mutually complementary partnership".

During President Poh Tae-Woo visit to Moscow in September 2004 both sides decided to upgrade bilateral relations to a "comprehensive partnership based on mutual trust".

As a result of the summit meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and President Lee Myung-Bak in Moscow on September 29, 2008 the Russia-Korea relations were upgraded from a "comprehensive partnership based on mutual trust" to one a "strategic and cooperative partnership". The meaning of this agreement is that both countries decided to develop a fullscale cooperative relationship and diversify bilateral relations to regional and global scope.

Bilateral cooperation from now will cover a wider range including politics, diplomacy, military, security as well as economic and cultural spheres.

During the visit of President Lee Myung-Bak were signed 26 documents covering cooperation in industry and high technology, such as energy resources, IT, nanotechnology, the space industry and nuclear energy, finance, ocean development.

Both sides agreed to develop sustainable exchange and cooperation in the area of national defense, including defense technology and meetings between military officials.

It was also agreed to continue summit meetings to exchange the opinions and views on major international events, situations in the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and around the world, and to expand cooperation and interaction between government, parliament, and at the public and private sector level.

Moscow and Seoul reached an agreement to hold strategic dialogue at the first vice-minister level on foreign affairs and national security. First such dialog took place in May 2007 in Moscow. This will promote further cooperation in foreign affairs and national security and allow the two countries to address the changing situation on the Korean Peninsula and world wide.

Russia is providing the Republic of Korea with additional opportunities to widen its scope of cooperation in the Eurasian region, participation in Russia's Far East and Siberia development plan.

The economic cooperation between two countries is developing successfully and fast. The "Action Plan" for economic and trade cooperation, concluded in November 2005 was behind of dramatic increased trade volume and investment on both sides.

As a result of the summit meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and President Lee Myung-Bak on September 2008 it was agreed to improve trade structure, to increase the export volume of Russian machinery, technical equipment and high-tech products, and to strive for a better quality and standard of economic and trade cooperation.

Understanding the need for dialogue at the private sector level to enhance in-depth economic cooperation, it was agreed to expand "Korean-Russian Business Dialogue" and other regional level talks and promote the participation of small and medium size enterprises in economic and trade cooperation.

It is absolutely clear that potential for economic cooperation between two countries has an unlimited potential which both sides should explore more speedy and efficiently.

Russia is interested in peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula because such situation is closely connected to the security and development of the Russian Far East and Siberia region.

In this sense the strategic cooperation with the Republic of Korea is very important. In the security field Russia may have relations of trust with Republic of Korea, which provide additional possibility to increase Russian political and diplomatic role and make it more effective and consistent in dealing with the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

On the other hand, "the strategic and cooperative partnership" with Russia opens for the Republic of Korea additional opportunities to feel more confident and strong dealing with North Korea and in broader sense to strengthen its position in regional and global international polities.

In the field of economic development and modernization Russia is interested in partnership with the Republic of Korea, which is regarded as the most suitable partner in promoting of the major projects of the "2013 Far East and Zabaikalye Development Program". Russia is also looking for new markets for its energy and natural resources, trying to diversity the routes of supply. And for the Republic of Korea which needs a secure supply of energy and natural resources to maintain sustainable economic growth the importance of the relationship with Russia is obvious.

While there is a bright perspective for the Russian-Korean strategic and cooperative partnership, some possible restrictions also should be mentioned. The Republic of Korea is a close political and military ally with the USA. If Russian-American relations would go on conflicting courses, especially over matters such as security situation in Asia-Pacific Region, this could inevitably effect the Russian-Korean relations.

The state of the Russian-North Korean relations also may influence the policy of Moscow toward Seoul, though it is difficult to imagine that this influence will have dramatic effect on practical Russian-Korean cooperation. The influence may be only on tactics how better solve the problems of the Korean Peninsula, namely nuclear problem of North Korea.

There is also a such problem as a historical past in relations between Russia-Soviet Union and Korea, which left in the mentality of many koreans negative feelings toward Russia, though new Russia has nothing to do with this. So for both sides is necessary systematically take steps to deepen mutual understanding and trust between politicians, journalists, intellectuals as well as between common people.

Expansion of Russia's economic cooperation with both Korean states could provide a positive impulse for the strengthening of cooperation in the Northeast Asia and in other regions. The development of the dialog with North Korea and South Korea may give Russia the role of a very important player which will be able to help the resolution of existing political and military contradictions and collisions on the Korean Peninsula.

At the summit meeting with President Medvedev, President Lee Myung-Bak presented his ideas about the "Three Great New Silk Roads". First is a "Steel Silk Road" - the connection of the Trans-Siberia railroad with Trans-Korean railroad. Second is and "Energy Silk Road" - the constructing of an oil and gas pipeline across North Korea. Third is a "Green Silk Road" - the cooperation in agriculture and forestry in the Far East.

The Russian side supported these ideas-projects. Russia is already doing its best trying to contribute concretely in the railway connection project, understanding that this project would not only help to improve situation on the Korean Peninsula but would have a positive impact on the international transportation and logistics markets.

Russia is also in favor of the second project, trying to persuade North Korea to agree to construct oil and gas pipeline across its territory. At the same time Russia's Gasprom Company signed with Korea Gas Corporation the memorandum of understanding concerning the export of Russian natural gas to the Republic of Korea via North Korea. If it would be realized the Republic of Korea will receive from Russia 20% of RK total consumption of natural gas for 30 years. This project will help diversify for the Republic of Korea the import sources of natural gas and also help to decrease import prices.

The "Three Great New Silk Roads" projects can only be achieved through cooperation between the two Koreas and Russia. If such cooperation is achieved it would greatly help to change for the better overall situation on the Korean Peninsula and create preconditions for the unification process.

There are a number of major projects that could be brought to life, for example, the linking of the Trans-Siberian railroad to Korea railroad infrastructure. As a part of this project is a plan to build a line from Khosan on Russian territory to Rajin port in North Korea to transport containers from South Korea. There are also a projects for building power lines across the territory of North Korea to South Korea as well as natural gas supply infracture throughout the Korean Peninsula.

Russia supports a dialogue and cooperation between South Korea and North Korea, and emphasized that this is a crucial factor affecting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Russia and the Republic of Korea maintain close cooperation at ARF and APEC forums and their position is in favour of strengthening the non-proliferation treaties on nuclear weapons and bio-chemical weapons.

Both countries share the view that Russian-Korean bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation must be reinforced in order to effectively deal with global security issues such as international terrorism, cross-border organized crime, climate change, food security, energy security, piracy and cyber crimes.

A very promising area of cooperation is cooperation in industry, science and technology. Both sides promote exchange of experts for joint studies, symposiums, establishment of joint study groups and institution, exchange of technical information, documents and research results.

Both countries activise cooperation in such fields as nanotechnology, nuclear energy, space development. There is already important achievement in space development - the success of the flight of Korea's first astronaut project.

There are also such projects as a construction of an exclusive industrial complex for Korean companies in the region near Moscow and exclusive harbor for Korean ships near Vladivostok.

The current system of exchange between North Korea and Russia is that the former exports labor and agriculture goods and the latter exports electrical energy, oil and raw materials.

The concept of three-party cooperation means the combination of Russian energy and resources, North Korean territory and labor, and South Korean capital and technology. The objective of this policy to revive and modernize the North Korean economy, to create income sources and to promote inter-Korean cooperation and the economic ties of both Koreas with Russia, which would lead to the creation of economically intergraded system in the Korean Peninsular.

Cooperation between Russia, North and South Korea in oil, gas and railway construction and utilization of these projects could be a good start for a reconciliation.

Unification is a longstanding national objective of Korean people.

In 1972, 1991, 2000, 2007 the leaders of North Korea and South Korea agreed and reaffirmed the principles of their position on the unification process. They are - reunification should be achieved independently, on their own initiative, without reliance upon outside force or its interference, through the joint efforts of the Korean people, who are the masters of the country.

But in reality no durable progress was achieved in inter - Korea relations.

North Korea and South Korea officially are standing for unification and create at first stage at least a Confederation of Korea. But each side is thinking that finally it will be assimilation of one part of Korea into the other on its terms and conditions.

Up to the late 1980s, Pyongyang thought it was just a matter of choosing the right time to capture the South. And following the dissolution of the USSR, South Korea began seriously prepare for the collapse and subsegment absorption of the North.

Both examples are a "zero-sum game". Without mutual respect and recognition of the partner interest it is impossible to move toward process of unification.

At the beginning of the 21st century a prospect for a peaceful co-existence of the North and South appeared. Two summits were held, dialog expanded, trade increased and joint projects were initiated, including an industrial complex in Kaesong and a tourism project in Kumgangsan financed by South Korea.

But when the administration of Lee Myung-Bak put forward the idea of a "big deal" (first denuclearization of North Korea then normalization of relations and economic aid), it was perceived in Pyongyang as a guise for plans to absorb the North.

In 2010 the escalation of tensions caused by the sinking of the Cheonan Corvette and artillery shelling of the South Korean island damaged dramatically the prospect of any possibility even for the talk of future unification. Given the lack of a mechanism for dialog and supporting peace in Korea, it is possible that new military incidents will occur between the two states.

There are several scenarios which are discussed how the situation on the Korean Peninsula may evolve.

One scenario analyzes the possibility of a deep economic crisis and chaos in North Korea with the final result being downfall of the regime.

This may lead to the absorption of the country by South Korea.

The sudden unification via absorption might be dangerous and could bring about many negative consequences. The North Koreans "patriots" and the proponents of chuche nationalism, who will have nothing to lose most probably would resist absorption using all possible military means, not excluding guerrilla war all over the Korean Peninsula. There is no doubt that such resistance plans are in place in North Korea. This will create long-tern instability in Korea and even a full blown civil war.

Some studies estimate that Korean unification could exceed 600 billion dollars over 10 years. But this estimate might be too low. German unification costs in 20 years achieved 1,3 trillion euros (1,9 trillion dollars) which were transferred from the West Germany to rebuild the East Germany.

Taking into account the experience of the Unification of Germany, it is obvious that this process on the Korean Peninsula will be much more costly.

The economic potential of the South is not sufficient to cope with social-economic problem of the North and at the same time preserving the standard of living that took such great efforts to achieve in South Korea.

In difference to German Unification there is no inter-Korea communication and travel, personal distrust among Koreans because of the civil war is much higher than Germans experienced during "cold war" years. There are significant difficulties in bridging major cultural and social differences.

But on the other hand, the probability of a collapse of the North Korean regime, which was predicted many times, may not take place in the foreseeable future. The North Korean government has been able to maintain social and political stability despite the chronic economic crisis and lack of recourses.

In the mid 1990s, despite universal predictions of imminent collapse, the DPRK managed to survive. Even the land-slide of the Asian financial crisis (1997-1998) did not undermine the foundation of its centrally planned economy. The country endured the policy of "Arduous March" ("Silent Famine") which cost many North Korean lives.

The reality is that for the foreseeable future the power in North Korea will remain in the hands of the Kim clan and its inner circle. This power is supported by the highly stratified structure of the ruling class bound together by thousands of family and social ties. There is no real opposition or alternative power base. All possible dissident activities are cruelly suppressed, and conditions for its formation are absent.

Under such circumstances almost impossible to expect a sudden collapse of the existing regime in North Korea.

China - country which posses a strong influence on the North Korean policy, definitely don't want to see the thousands of US troops stationed in South Korea to move right up to China's borders. This may happen if the North Korea regime mile suddenly collapse.

That's why the chinese policy toward situation on Korean Peninsula is clear and was confirmed once again during May will visit to China by the North Korean leader Kim John-Il.

As President the Jintao said at the meeting with the North Korean leader (according to the state-run China Central Television),

"All sides should remain calm and restrained, show flexibility, eliminate obstacles, improve relations and make positive efforts to realize peace, stability and development on the peninsula.

We call on all relevant parties to continue to uphold the standard of a nuclear-free, peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula".

After meeting between both leaders both sides called for restraint on the Korean Peninsula and said they wanted to re-start "six-party" talks on a North Korean's nuclear program, but did not offer any new proposals that might persuade the US, Japan and Republic of Korea to resume those talks.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visit to China was his the third trip to China in just over a year. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China told the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-bak meeting him in Japan May 28, 2011, that Mr. Kim was in China to study "economic development".

Mr. Kim visited, as Chinese state television showed, a farm, a car plant and electronics factory and was briefed about research into e-books and LCD technology.

He met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and attended a banquet with most of the Chinese Communist Party's nine-member Politburo Standing Committee.

Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Mr. Kim had said that China's "reform and opening-up policy has been proven correct". He also said that North Korea "is currently focusing its efforts on economic development and we really need a stable environment for this".

But when Mr. Kim has made similar visits to China before, he after these visits has never followed up with chinese style reforms, and this time, the official Korean Central News Agency reported that Mr. Kim during his visit to Chine had declared his intention to "witness for himself the dynamic progress in the rapidly changing land of China", but did not mention his domestic economic plans.

He only said that "the Korean people are rejoiced as over their own success over the fact that everything is going well in China, their neighbor".

Despite of isolation and international sanctions North Korean leadership is not planning to change anything in its internal and foreign policy. The model of an economy based on self-sufficiency and self-reliance has substantial reserves of survival capability in crisis situation. During food crisises, North Korea usually makes some concessions but not a principal one - only with the aim to receive international support for food supply.

The only one possibility to expect some changes is the strategy to create the conditions for a gradual evolutionary transformation of North Korea, starting with economic reforms, close to initial reforms of chinese type. It is not accidental that North Korean leaders, including Kim Johg-Il, show a big interest to the economic development of the Chinese territories close to North Korea trying to understand why just across the border it is possible to have a decent way of life for a population under almost the same climate and agriculture conditions.

Theoretically the Chinese economic model might be applicable to North Korea, but the leaders of North Korea are afraid that this could be the first step toward the introduction of market mechanism, which finally will lead to the collapse of the existing regime.

But on the other hand, there is a growing understanding even in a ruling class of North Korea that economic changes are inevitable. The strategy should be to encourage North Korea to take this economic policy.

For Russia the most desired outcome is a national reconciliation and peaceful coexistence of two Korean states on the path to eventual unification of Korea over a long period of time. The appearance of a unified Korea that seeks to maintain friendly, neighborly and cooperative relations with Russia does not contradict Russia's core interest.

But at the same time we should admit that the prospect for a United Korea in the foreseeable future are quite low.

What are the principles of Russian policy toward the unification of both Korean states? They are set very clearly.

First, the support of the process of reconciliation of two Korean states.

Second, the support exclusively peaceful, diplomatic means for the solution of the problems of the Korean Peninsular.

Third, the support peaceful unification of Korea under condition that United Korean state would have friendly attitude toward Russia and other neighbor states.

Forth, the support of the guarantee of he nonnuclear states of the Korean Peninsular, of the observance of the regimes of non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction in the region.

Fifth, the support and assistance to the wide economic interaction on three-party base - Russia-North Korea-South Korea.

It would be preferable that the United Korea state be neutral, peaceful, nonnuclear and without a foreign military presence on its territory.

Russia sees a unified Korea as a potential strategic partner.

Russia from the very begging was opposed to North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Though Moscow was unhappy not to be included in the end of the XX century in neither the Four-Party Talks (the two Koreas, China, and the United States) despite the fact that the idea of multinational talks on Pyongyang nuclear program was initially put forward by Russia in 1994 (only in 2003 Russia joined the dialog system), nor to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) despite the fact that some time before soviet specialists have found and technically analyzed the place in North Korea for the construction of the nuclear electric plant.

It is important to facilitate inter-Korean dialogue. Koreans should search for their own responses to the historical challenge they are facing. The role of foreign powers is not to intervene onto inter-Korean relation, but to exert their influence in order to preclude clashes and to help both Koreas to go along the way of reunification, exercising readiness for reasonable, mutual concessions.

The six-party negotiations were unable to prevent two nuclear tests by North Korea. Today North Korea openly positions it self as a nuclear power.

Now the prospects for restarting the negotiations are unclear. At the same time it is necessary to have a channel for discussing the concerns related to nuclear and missile programs of North Korea. The "old" six-party configuration has played its role. But now time has come to think about different format of negotiations with another agenda. Denuclearization in principle is possible but only in the long-term perspective and when North Korea will receive what the leadership of North Korea want most of all. For Pyongyang nuclear program is a crucial mean to obtain three major "concessions" from, first of all, the United States.

First, full recognition by the White House of the existing regime in North Korea, including the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Second, guarantees from the United States that there will not be efforts from Washington and its allies Seoul and Tokyo to undermine the Pyongyang political system and there will no be an external threat to North Korea.

Third, the large scale economic and technical assistance will be provided.

When former US President Jimmy Carter visited Pyongyang in April 2011 he was told that North Korea won't give up nuclear program without some kind of security guarantee from the US.

The North has repeatedly stated it wants an assurance that US will not attack it as well as a peace treaty which has not singed after the Korean War.

Now it looks reasonable to put forward an initiative to call a multilateral diplomatic conference on Korea (as the post-war agreements stipulated) with participation of the same six countries plus England and France (as permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations) and Secretary General of the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is possible to have this conference under the auspices of the UN, which formally was a participant of the military conflict in Korea.

An agenda of the conference should be comprehensive, including not only the problem of denuclearization, but also discussions of a new peacekeeping regime on the Korean Peninsular, of a concept for creating a multilateral mechanism for guaranteeing security in Northeast Asia.

Russia saved six-party the negotiations when in 2005 the problem of the freezing of the accounts of North Korea in Banko Delta Asia in Macao upon the request of the United States appeared. Russia put forward an idea how to solve this problem.

In the spring 2011 thanks to effort of the Russian side North Korea agreed to return unconditionally to the six-party talks, which it left in the end of 2008.

Russia expressed deep concern and condemned the artillery shelling by North Korea the South Korean island Yeongpyeong in 2010 which caused human losses.

Russia supported UN Security Council resolution in May 2009 N 1874 to sanction North Korea after its second nuclear test.

It is important to remind that the working group on a Northeast Asia Peace and Security mechanism, which was established, in the frame of six-party talks has agreed upon the principle content of the Guiding Principles of Peace and Security in Northeast Asia as a first step forward a multilateral regional security system.

In the agenda of the conference should be included above mentioned three major concerns of North Korea.

Reduction of tension on the Korean Peninsular is a decisive factor for security and stability in the region.

There is a growing concern that the possibility of arms race in the region is a real thing.

This makes an agreement on confidence-building measures very important. Such measures can promote a better environment for negotiations. What makes confidence-building measures important is that although they do not arrest military activities, they regulated them and make them more predictable.

Confidence-building measures help to remove suspicions and concerns and in the end enhance military stability.

Among such measures most useful might be:

- mutual notification about maneuvers and military exercises;

- invitation of foreign military observer to maneuvers and military exercises;

- concluding agreements on avoidance of incidents at sea;

- bilateral or multilateral discussion about respective military doctrines;

- exchange of information on deployment of military forces of each country.

Russia can play an important role in ensuring stability in the region. This function of Russia could be called natural, for objective dimensions make Russia one of the major centers of power of Northeast Asia.

The geopolitical role of Russia may become even more evident during and after the reunification of Korea. Russia, as a friend of Korea, integrates into world community in a new quality.

What might be the situation after the Unification of Korea?

It will be mainly depended on what scenario of unification will take place.

Even under the most optimistic scenario when unification process will develop peacefully and gradually for a rather long period of time the United Korea, whatever configuration it may form, inevitably should be oriented into domestic, internal problems and main resources will be used to solve them.

There is no necessity to explain the reason of this. On one hand, the dramatic modernization of the North economy and social structure may open a lot of possibilities for south koreans companies to invest in the North where there are not so expensive labor force and some natural resources which do not exist in the South. But on the other hand, such grive to the North will require enormous financial resources which will be taken from programs of economic and social development of the south, creating situation when in internal policy it may course strong dissatisfaction of south korean population and at the same time stortage of investment in development of the economic potential of the South with the goal not to yield to international completion.

Under such circumstances, the United Korea during this process of "unification accommodation" unlikely may play a major role in world economy affairs and most probably will be needed in huge borrowing of money from international financial organizations and private funds.

The United Korea will be needed not only money but, what is even more important, peacefull conditions, peacefull surroundings as a decisive factor for successful solution of its internal problems.

That's why for the United Korea peace, stability, trust in the North East Asia will be of great interest. At the same time the United Korea will have a chance to become a most active player in the process of creating new regional order.

At the beginning the unification process will be most probably supported by almost all not only regional powers but by majority of world states and by the United Nations as an organization.

But in the long run it cannot be excluded that some countries in the region may consider the arise of the powerful United Korea as at least an economic rival. This may produce an attempt to contain the development of a new Korea. That's why it will be very important for the leaders of the United Korea to work out and put forward a constructive, positive vision of a new state and its role in world and regional polities.