Planning for a crisisWith Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s leader, apparently ill, officials say the South Korean government has been reviewing preparation measures in case an emergency breaks out in North Korea.
The former administration’s manual focused on how to administer North Korea in a safe way in case of an emergency. The incumbent administration is said to be revising the manual, taking the reunification process into consideration.
Needless to say, diplomacy is key. It is hard to handle a full-blown crisis in North Korea without the firm cooperation of our allies and the support and cooperation of neighboring countries.
The United States and China are the major partners when preparing for a sudden change in North Korea’s regime.
Both countries are deeply involved in the peace talks on the Korean Peninsula. Each has an enormous amount of influence in the region and has a great deal at stake.
It is vital that these two countries’ interests are aligned. If an emergency breaks out in North Korea when the United States and China are at loggerheads, we will have a disaster on our hands.
South Korea must ensure that any new measures are balanced with the interests of the United States, and we must work with the U.S. to persuade China to cooperate. We will also need the cooperation of Russia and Japan and the backing of the United Nations.
Any changes to the leadership of North Korea will almost certainly lead to some degree of instability, which could lead to complicated military and diplomatic issues.
This is why it is imperative that the South Korean government draws up detailed measures for all possibilities and acts in accordance with international law and historical precedence.
When designing measures, the peace and security on the Korean Peninsula should be the focus, but at the same time, the interests of all the involved countries must also be taken into consideration.
We should be able to persuade all the other countries involved that re-establishing order on the Korean Peninsula after an emergency in North Korea will benefit all and won’t damage the interests or security of other nations.
At the end of the 1980s, an emergency in East Germany led to the reunification of Germany primarily because West Germany had a strong diplomatic base.
Depending on our diplomatic base, an emergency in the North could be a great opportunity for us or a complete calamity.
It is time for the smartest strategists to prepare for the biggest diplomatic challenge this country has ever faced.
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