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Is South Korea Ready for Fall of North?

Posted November. 23, 2005 08:11,   


Francis Fukuyama, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University and author of “The End of History?” voiced doubts about how South Korea would cope if a regime change occurred in North Korea, or if Chairman Kim Jong Il died, was driven out, or murdered.

He recently presented his views in an interview with “Zeitgeist,” a Korean quarterly publication on ideological theory. An Internet news website specializing in North Korean affairs (www.dailynk.com) disclosed the full text of the interview on November 21.

In the article, Fukuyama stated that rapid reforms within North Korea will make a resolution very difficult to achieve, adding reservations on whether South Korea will be able to deal well with many issues to achieve gradual progress.

In his 1992 work “The End of History?” Fukuyama announced the victory of liberal democracy over socialism. He is seen to exercise considerable influence over the neo-conservatives in the U.S. government.

He also stated in the interview that as North Korea is refusing to adopt Chinese-style changes, some argue the U.S. and China should collaborate to bring the North Korean dictatorship to an end, in a way other than enforcing democracy or promoting reforms measures to open up the country like China did.

He predicted however that China is not likely to coerce the North Korean regime to change. The professor says chances of China voluntarily putting pressure on the North are remote, and that China has come to realize it does not have significant influence over North Korea.

He added that the North Korean government continues to deny its responsibility to its citizens, and that a new regime in the North is needed if this issue is to be resolved.

To a question on non-violent ways to end dictatorial rule in North Korea, he replied that if the ruling group faces dissension or secretive cliques are formed to maintain power, most regimes will collapse.

Fukuyama also voiced his opinion that if North Korea refuses to participate in the six-party talks, the remaining five nations of South Korea, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia can hold a conference on their own, and suggested the five countries establish an organization similar to Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE is a permanent institution where the U.S., Canada, and all European countries engage in comprehensive discussions on security issues including disarmament, the economy, and human rights.

Myoung-Gun Lee gun43@donga.com