Preparing North Korean Elites for Unification

Rand Corporation
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This report examines what could be done to convince North Korean elites that unification would be good for them. It describes five areas of concern that North Korean elites would likely have about the outcomes of unification and proposes policies that the Republic of Korea government could adopt that would give North Korean elites hope for an acceptable unification outcome.
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Publisher
Rand Corporation
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Published on
Apr 27, 2017
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Pages
60
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ISBN
9780833097996
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Asia / General
History / Asia / Korea
Political Science / Political Process / Leadership
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A North Korean government collapse would have serious consequences in North Korea and beyond. At the very least, a collapse would reduce the already scarce food and essential goods available to the population, in part due to hoarding and increasing costs. This could lead to a humanitarian disaster. Factions emerging after a collapse could plunge the country into civil war that spills over into neighboring countries. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could be used and even proliferated. This report examines ways of controlling and mitigating the consequences, recognizing that the Republic of Korea (ROK) and its U.S. ally will almost certainly need to intervene militarily in the North, likely seeking Korean unification as the ultimate outcome. But such an intervention requires serious preparation. North Koreans must be convinced that they will be treated well and could actually have better lives after unification. The allies need to prepare to deliver humanitarian aid in the North, stop conflict, demilitarize the North Korean military and security services over time, and secure and eventually eliminate North Korean WMD. Potential Chinese intervention must be addressed, ideally leading to cooperation with ROK and U.S. forces. Plans are needed for liberating North Korean political prisons before the guards execute the prisoners. Property rights need to be addressed. The ROK must sustain its military capabilities despite major reductions in force size due to very low birthrates. And ROK reluctance to broadly address North Korean collapse must be overcome so that plans in these areas can move forward.
“I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.”

Yeonmi Park has told the harrowing story of her escape from North Korea as a child many times, but never before has she revealed the most intimate and devastating details of the repressive society she was raised in and the enormous price she paid to escape.

Park’s family was loving and close-knit, but life in North Korea was brutal, practically medieval. Park would regularly go without food and was made to believe that, Kim Jong Il, the country’s dictator, could read her mind. After her father was imprisoned and tortured by the regime for trading on the black-market, a risk he took in order to provide for his wife and two young daughters, Yeonmi and her family were branded as criminals and forced to the cruel margins of North Korean society. With thirteen-year-old Park suffering from a botched appendectomy and weighing a mere sixty pounds, she and her mother were smuggled across the border into China.

I wasn’t dreaming of freedom when I escaped from North Korea. I didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All I knew was that if my family stayed behind, we would probably die—from starvation, from disease, from the inhuman conditions of a prison labor camp. The hunger had become unbearable; I was willing to risk my life for the promise of a bowl of rice. But there was more to our journey than our own survival. My mother and I were searching for my older sister, Eunmi, who had left for China a few days earlier and had not been heard from since.

Park knew the journey would be difficult, but could not have imagined the extent of the hardship to come. Those years in China cost Park her childhood, and nearly her life.  By the time she and her mother made their way to South Korea two years later, her father was dead and her sister was still missing. Before now, only her mother knew what really happened between the time they crossed the Yalu river into China and when they followed the stars through the frigid Gobi Desert to freedom. As she writes, “I convinced myself that a lot of what I had experienced never happened. I taught myself to forget the rest.”

In In Order to Live, Park shines a light not just into the darkest corners of life in North Korea, describing the deprivation and deception she endured and which millions of North Korean people continue to endure to this day, but also onto her own most painful and difficult memories. She tells with bravery and dignity for the first time the story of how she and her mother were betrayed and sold into sexual slavery in China and forced to suffer terrible psychological and physical hardship before they finally made their way to Seoul, South Korea—and to freedom.

Still in her early twenties, Yeonmi Park has lived through experiences that few people of any age will ever know—and most people would never recover from. Park confronts her past with a startling resilience, refusing to be defeated or defined by the circumstances of her former life in North Korea and China. In spite of everything, she has never stopped being proud of where she is from, and never stopped striving for a better life. Indeed, today she is a human rights activist working determinedly to bring attention to the oppression taking place in her home country.

Park’s testimony is rare, edifying, and terribly important, and the story she tells in In Order to Live is heartbreaking and unimaginable, but never without hope. Her voice is riveting and dignified. This is the human spirit at its most indomitable.
With a New Foreword

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped. Blaine Harden's latest book, King of Spies, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.

In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother.

The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.

Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

This analysis of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Defense Reform Plan (DRP) was done at the request of Assemblyman Jin-Ha Hwang, a member of the National Assembly's National Defense Committee. It examines the overall nature of the DRP, identifies major risks in the plan, and discusses how those risks can be managed. It concludes that the DRP is a good approach to potential ROK security dilemmas, but the plan faces major risks, especially in meeting some possible security requirements. The DRP could be strengthened by adding concepts for managing its major risks. This analysis does face several limitations: (1) A number of DRP details have yet to be settled, (2)some planned weapon systems has not yet been developed, (3) many of the plan details are classified by the ROK and thus not available to the author, and (4) this author has only limited experience with military budgets and force acquisition. This paper begins by discussing the background of the DRP and the manpower problem it needs to address. It then presents the author's estimates of the force changes that would occur and how those forces appear to fit the force requirements the ROK will likely face in the coming years. It examines the budget requested for the DRP and whether it will cover the necessary costs. It addresses the effects that the DRP could have on ROK military morale and how the United States may view the DRP. It concludes by recommending steps the ROK could take to manage the key risks identified throughout this analysis.
A North Korean government collapse would have serious consequences in North Korea and beyond. At the very least, a collapse would reduce the already scarce food and essential goods available to the population, in part due to hoarding and increasing costs. This could lead to a humanitarian disaster. Factions emerging after a collapse could plunge the country into civil war that spills over into neighboring countries. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could be used and even proliferated. This report examines ways of controlling and mitigating the consequences, recognizing that the Republic of Korea (ROK) and its U.S. ally will almost certainly need to intervene militarily in the North, likely seeking Korean unification as the ultimate outcome. But such an intervention requires serious preparation. North Koreans must be convinced that they will be treated well and could actually have better lives after unification. The allies need to prepare to deliver humanitarian aid in the North, stop conflict, demilitarize the North Korean military and security services over time, and secure and eventually eliminate North Korean WMD. Potential Chinese intervention must be addressed, ideally leading to cooperation with ROK and U.S. forces. Plans are needed for liberating North Korean political prisons before the guards execute the prisoners. Property rights need to be addressed. The ROK must sustain its military capabilities despite major reductions in force size due to very low birthrates. And ROK reluctance to broadly address North Korean collapse must be overcome so that plans in these areas can move forward.
This analysis of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Defense Reform Plan (DRP) was done at the request of Assemblyman Jin-Ha Hwang, a member of the National Assembly's National Defense Committee. It examines the overall nature of the DRP, identifies major risks in the plan, and discusses how those risks can be managed. It concludes that the DRP is a good approach to potential ROK security dilemmas, but the plan faces major risks, especially in meeting some possible security requirements. The DRP could be strengthened by adding concepts for managing its major risks. This analysis does face several limitations: (1) A number of DRP details have yet to be settled, (2)some planned weapon systems has not yet been developed, (3) many of the plan details are classified by the ROK and thus not available to the author, and (4) this author has only limited experience with military budgets and force acquisition. This paper begins by discussing the background of the DRP and the manpower problem it needs to address. It then presents the author's estimates of the force changes that would occur and how those forces appear to fit the force requirements the ROK will likely face in the coming years. It examines the budget requested for the DRP and whether it will cover the necessary costs. It addresses the effects that the DRP could have on ROK military morale and how the United States may view the DRP. It concludes by recommending steps the ROK could take to manage the key risks identified throughout this analysis.
A North Korean government collapse would have serious consequences in North Korea and beyond. At the very least, a collapse would reduce the already scarce food and essential goods available to the population, in part due to hoarding and increasing costs. This could lead to a humanitarian disaster. Factions emerging after a collapse could plunge the country into civil war that spills over into neighboring countries. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) could be used and even proliferated. This report examines ways of controlling and mitigating the consequences, recognizing that the Republic of Korea (ROK) and its U.S. ally will almost certainly need to intervene militarily in the North, likely seeking Korean unification as the ultimate outcome. But such an intervention requires serious preparation. North Koreans must be convinced that they will be treated well and could actually have better lives after unification. The allies need to prepare to deliver humanitarian aid in the North, stop conflict, demilitarize the North Korean military and security services over time, and secure and eventually eliminate North Korean WMD. Potential Chinese intervention must be addressed, ideally leading to cooperation with ROK and U.S. forces. Plans are needed for liberating North Korean political prisons before the guards execute the prisoners. Property rights need to be addressed. The ROK must sustain its military capabilities despite major reductions in force size due to very low birthrates. And ROK reluctance to broadly address North Korean collapse must be overcome so that plans in these areas can move forward.
The search for the best solution for bio-defense is proving to be an obstacle to finding the more immediate good solution. In the day when Americans have grown used to fast food, instant access to the Internet, and minimal United States casualties during war, many have come to expect a silver bullet solution for almost any problem. The military, like the rest of America, is often in quest for the 100% solution to its challenges. For example, the military, now awakened to the biological warfare/biological terrorism (BW/BT) threat, is in search of the perfect solution to the problem posed by biological weapons. The pursuit of the 100% solution often diverts efforts from potential quick (though incomplete) fixes for such tough problems that could provide valuable protection. Some new proposals are presented to provide an "85% Quick Fix", including implementation of a Bio-Threatcon level, building preparation, providing off the shelf 1/2 mask respirators and more. While the technical information in this paper needs further study, it is hoped this chapter will provoke discussion and stimulate the development of new ideas for immediate solutions (albeit partial solutions) rather than waiting on the 100% solution. In April 1990, two U.S. naval bases, Yokosuka and Yokohama, were attacked with botulinum toxin, and although they failed, the scenario could have turned out much different. A home-grown Japanese terrorist organization, Aum Shinrikyo, had amassed over a billion dollars in net worth and had developed a clandestine biological warfare program. This group became famous for its nerve agent attack in the Tokyo subways in March 1995 that killed 12 and injured 5,500. Fortunately, in 1990, technology and scientific know-how were not as accessible as they are today, and as a result, the Aum Shinrikyo cult had not perfected its program. To our knowledge, no U.S. forces became ill from this attack.
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