I think even if the north and south unified tomorrow there would still be a pretty massive cultural divide for generations. Just look at Germany. There's still quite large divides between east and west (or so I've been told) and the cultural/economic gap wasn't nearly as big as it is for Korea. South Korea is an extremely modern country, from what I know. If I remember correctly South Korea has the highest percentage of homes with broadband interent access in the world. And the North...well yeah, I think it's essentially a third world country by now. So even though they share a common language and history, I think these last 50 yrs or so have probably created a pretty lasting, if not permanent schism between the two cultures.
Mind you, I'm not exactly an expert on Korea...does anyone know whether north and south Korea were very different before being divided into two countries?
There were the same regional differences you'd find in any country, but there weren't the huge concrete ones you find now.
North Korea hasn't become a third world country, it has stayed one. South Korea has become a rich country. At the end of the Korean War the South was deeply impoverished, poorer than most of the world.
Reunification is a huge emotional dream for the South Korean people but it's really difficult to see how it could be pulled off. Iirc, average wages in East Germany (the richest Warsaw Pact nation) were about 1/4 that of wages in the West before reunification. In contrast, the gap between the two Koreas is about 14 times. North Korea had the worst famine of the 1990's, where roughly 2-3 million people died. The average fourteen year-old North Korean is over six inches shorter than his southern counterpart! It's fucked and I'm not sure what's going to happen.
Last i've heard /rd ,
that giant blast on the train in North Korea some months back
may well have been aimed at the big man himself , he had passed through there only hours before.
Also hearing that posters of the big man are getting torn down in some parts of the country .
In a place where the military has been keeping the 'exalted leader' in power and in a land so closely controlled , these may be hints of things to come ...
From the Japanese side , the issue of N Korean abductees has inflamed the families whose kids were snatched , and slowly the Gov. has had to actually deal with it.
The other week NK sent bk the bones of ones of one of the abductees , a young lady whose parents have kept up the pressure on the J Gov. - only to find out the bones were from various deads thrown in a box and sent across the water as a peaceful, progressive gesture
Aftermath of the North's collaspe ?
Imagine first the internal battles within that military between those for the leader - and those tired of it all .
And China is not idle on and behind the scene(s)