Tuesday, October 20, 2015

German Unification and Korean Unification

Twenty-five years ago on Oct. 3rd,  East and West Germany were united  as the one nation of Germany. Ceremonies were held even in Korea to commemorate the reuniting of the division. After one-quarter of a century has passed, the celebrations have been instrumental in bringing  enthusiastic interest to our own efforts at unification.

A professor whose specialty is working for Korean unification  writes in his column in the Catholic Times of his expectations. On August 25th, the North and South  agreed to stop acts of hostility, and begin ways of cooperating with one another. President Park on the plane back from China said that she would begin immediately to discuss  peaceful unification of the country.

For the past seven and eight years, we have almost completely stopped contact with North Korea except for the Kaesong Industrial Park, which is a  collaborative effort between the North and South. It is only a one-hour  ride from Seoul, and the South Korean companies employ North Korean cheap labor, which  helps the North with foreign currency. Now that they have agreed to open the road to cooperation, and the president wants to begin immediately to discuss unification the columnist calls this a paradox of paradoxes.

Contact between the East and West Germany existed for a long period of time, in many different ways: social, financial, cultural, so that when the time came to vote, it made the unification possible. The professor calls the making of the one Germany not an absorption but a joining. He asks what made the East join the West? He finds this very easy to answer. It was Billy Brandt, who with his 'change through rapprochement'  paved the way for eventual  unification.
West Germany stationed a resident correspondent in East Germany. They could  exchange letters,    notifying each other on  what was going on in each other's Germany. Chancellor Helmet Kohl  made the official exchange rate between the East and West as a one to one, and a reason the East voted for unification. His efforts for unification can't be overlooked.  

Germany's road to unification was long, and the professor closes with his observation on Korea's unification. Without  Brandt  putting in the railroad tracks, and Kohl putting the train on the tracks, nothing would have happened. When are we going to start laying the tracks down for future unification?

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