The unification of South and North Korea should resolve the internal problems within each country as well as the conflicts between them. In order to secure the support of the international community, however, the pursuit of unification should also address universal issues and implement a new model of development that surpasses the singular goal of peace on the Korean peninsula. From this perspective, the process of the unification of the Korean peninsula should pursue values that permit all human beings to be respected, establish harmonious relationships, and construct a sustainable society within nature. Accordingly,the discourse on unification must encompass a value-oriented philosophical discussion. This paper discusses the idea of hyanga seorwi 向我設位(setting up a ritual altar toward oneself) in Donghak (Eastern Learning), which is marked by human sympathy and consideration for others as the basic spirits of Confucian proprieties in the realm of social understanding and Neo-Confucian moral norms in the understanding of nature.
Today on the Korean peninsula, ideas that are very similar to seventeenth-century views on loyalty to Ming and conquering the northern barbarians are rampant to the extent of déjà vu. Joseon’s insistence on loyalty to Ming and the “conquer-the-north” policy in the seventeenth century closed opportunities for domestic reform and led to the collapse of the nation. The twenty-first-century version of the “conquer-the-north” stance and anti-North policy are very likely to contribute to the conflict between the United States and China on the peninsula as well as to the hostile confrontation between the two Koreas,which would only result in damaging the lives of South Korean people. Given this, it is vital to widen the areas in which the interests of the South Korea-United States-Japan bloc and the North Korea-China bloc overlap. When the peninsula becomes a place where economic interest relations of various nations are intertwined, North Korea cannot but move to a phase of disarmamentand tread the road to change.
The theory of civil society-initiated unification is a unification paradigm that reflects the changes in civil society following global social change and the democratization of Korean politics at the historical conjuncture of post-Cold War market-centrism. The statist paradigm of unification of the previous historical conjuncture now shows clear limitations as a practical and effective unification discourse. In the new historical conjuncture, trends such as the expansion of non-political civilian exchange and peace movements, civic-led unification movements, and a unification governance of civic participation are new practices that broaden the horizons of the theory of civil society-initiated unification. When differentiating between civil society as a realistic mode of existence versus a normative community, the theory of civil society-initiated unification focuses on the aspect of civil society as a normative community oriented towards the values of peace and equality, a green environment, autonomy,and co-existence. These norms and values of civil society are implemented through civic nationalism, which goes beyond the narrow scope of Cold War nationalism and will consequently be able to expand the conditions for the realization of unification-oriented civil society.
Discussions on inter-Korean peace and unification under the armistice regime have followed one of two trajectories. Some believe that the sustenance of the armistice is equal to peace, drawing a direct connection between the rmistice regime and unification. Other scholars include the establishment of a peace system as a precursor to unification. Additionally, there are two types of unification methodologies: unification by absorption, in which unification occurs through one side’s absorption of the other, and consensus-based unification, which requires the equal participation of the South and the North in the unification process. A combination of a peace system and consensus-based unification is perhaps the most ideal method because a state of peace can be pursued by peaceful means. However, its realization is unlikely because establishing peace on the Korean peninsula is a complex process involving multiple actors including South Korea, North Korea, the United States, and China. This paper explores the conditions for a sustainable peace system on the Korean peninsula based on an exploration of existing debates on the establishment of peace systems.
This study discusses how advancing the Changjitu Development Plan can facilitate Northeast Asian cooperation and contribute to the peace and unification of the Korean peninsula. It uses the concept of the Korean peninsula economy to emphasize that the unification of the Korean peninsula serves as an open process for Northeast Asian cooperation. There are concerns that economic cooperation between North Korea and China may negatively influence the North Korean nuclear crisis. However, this study maintains that factors such as the response proffered by actors such as South Korea can influence the various methods and opportunities to overcome the problem and that North Korea’s active efforts for regional cooperation in the form of the TRADP will not only bring Northeast Asian economic cooperation to a new level but also facilitate the resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis. Lastly, attempts are made to introduce a development strategy that revolves around clear relations between Northeast Asian economic cooperation and the Korean peninsula economy.
Although unification with North Korea, along with the related issue of national security, is South Korea’s core national objective, it is not a goal that Korea can pursue unilaterally. Support from the United States and China is necessary. This paper forecasts developments in Sino-American relations, nalyzes their implications for the Korean peninsula, and proposes policy options that will facilitate the peaceful unification of the two Koreas. Based on the prediction that the future of Sino-American relations will take the form of the extended status quo with periodic instability, I propose policy options that reflect China’s increased relative capability vis-à-vis American capability and utilize the concept of strategic pragmatism. Korea’s options include positive peaceful coexistence, deepened inter-Korean cooperation based on the wotrack strategy, peninsular arms control along with the institutionalization of Northeast Asian multilateral security cooperation, a modernized Korea-U.S. alliance, and upgraded cooperative relations with China.
The discussions on the uniqueness of the sages’ mind-and-heart in the Horak debate of the late Joseon dynasty occurred in regard to two major points of contention. The first regarded the different interpretations of the meaning of weifa 未發, or the original state of the mind, and the second concerned mingde 明德, or the original power of the mind. The Horak debate discussed whether sages and commoners had identical mind-and-heart; the debate should be understood in terms of the serious social inequalities inherent in late Joseon as well as the self-identity of the literati-officials of the time. Han Won-jin claimed that physical endowment in the weifa state had gradations or variations, whereas Yi Gan claimed that, in the weifa state, qi was in its original condition and therefore not subject to gradations or variations.
This paper analyzes the symbiotic and mutually reinforcing relationship between the anti-American movement and other social movements in democratic South Korea since 1987. Proposing a new typology of anti-Americanism, the paper formulates and develops an argument that the anti-American movement has substantially contributed to the success and survival of South Korea’s social movements. The anti-American movement should not be classified as one of the many social movements active in South Korea; rather, it is a special movement that performs various functions integral to the rise, expansion, unity, and success of social movements in general. The collaboration of the anti-American movement and other social movements is also transforming the character of the anti-American movement itself. The metamorphosis of the anti-American movement into diverse new social movements makes it more sophisticated, accessible, appealing, open, and flexible. Thus transformed, the anti-American movement will likely provide an important source of vitality for civic engagement and make significant contributions to South Korean democracy.