The ICAS Lectures


Who is going to collapse first: Seoul or Pyongyang?

Kun Il Yoo

Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.

Biographic sketch & Links: Kun Il Yoo

[Editor's note: This article is published here as a gift from the author" sjk]

Who is going to collapse first: Seoul or Pyongyang?

Kun Il Yoo

Columnist, former editor-in-chief of The Chosun Ilbo

March 25, 2018

Many pundits have been warning that the moment of truth is approaching the Korean peninsula, implying the critical juncture of either Seoul's or Pyongyang's collapse prior to its adversary‘s is not far ahead. My personal wish is, of course, Pyongyang, rather than Seoul, face that moment even just a few days earlier.

In this 'life and death' apocalyptic race, it is the U.S. that will play the key role, either positively or negatively. South Korea led by the current government has sided with the North Korean regime in allowing the latter to earn time at the crossroad of further nuclear adventurism or nuclear dismantlement. But it is not yet clear how the ultimate intention of the Trump administration will turn out.

As of present, what seems apparent is its vociferous pledge to seek complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the North Korean nuclear bombs and carriers across the West Pacific. When literally interpreted, that means President Trump will leave the negotiation table at once in case the 'rocket man' of Pyongyang does not fully, honestly, and positively respond to his call for CVID.

Then, what should be followed is immediate resurgence and intensification of maximum pressure to strangle Kim Jung Un's financial life line, intended, if not overtly, to precipitate his downfall.

In fact, the North Korean nuclear problem cannot be solved unless the current theocracy in Pyongyang is removed in whatever way including maximum pressure. If this does not work, the U.S. may have to consider other alternatives.

The above course of event, however, can be developed in a totally different, reverse way : the U.S. may no longer trust South Korea as an ally and turns to the U.S.-North Korea Peace Treaty, followed by the withdrawal of the U.S. army from South Korea. Henry Kissinger once advised that idea in his WSJ column.

Put in this way, the issue of Korean peninsula can be said, in one word, as the gasping race of what will come earlier: which one of the two efforts will materialize earlier (will the effort to demolish Seoul come earlier or will the effort to demolish Pyongyang come earlier) even by an inch or by one second.

What makes the pessimists even more pessimistic is that South Korea is now taken over by those who prefer so called 'Woori-minjock-kkiri (between the same Koreans of South and North)' to ROK-U.S. alliance. Since May 2017, liberal democratic political force of South Korea has been pushed to the corner to the extent of getting bogged down in a total quagmire as the 'lawful revolution' to liquidate the 'ancient regime' proceeded vigorously, emasculating any viable opposition to balance the tide of leftist hegemony in the politics of Korean peninsula.

Whatever consequence may accrue to this part of the world, it is current generation of Koreans themselves that should be responsible for it because it is they, and not others, who make choices and decisions in the end. So, tell them not to regret what they did too late.

This page last updated March 25, 2018 jdb