More and more, South Korea seems to be the best model in East Asia. Taiwan has followed a similar path from pro-development nationalist dictatorship to democracy; one hopes that China is in the process of following suit, and that North Korea — perhaps one day after the Dear Leader has gone to the great gymnastics festival in the sky — will one day follow suit as well. If Korea is to be unified successfully, the North will require extensive economic development and reeducation. Those processes will either happen gradually under North Korean rule or more suddenly under South Korean colonization should the North either invade the South or collapse. While the former choice runs the risk of strengthening the North Korean regime, the experiences of South Korea, Taiwan, and hopefully China will demonstrate that it is better to engage and develop under dictatorship than to preserve the North’s isolation and await its total collapse.
The Koreas seem to be going through some interesting changes. The United States is planning to withdraw some of its troops from South Korea, while at the same time North and South are planning on opening transport links across the DMZ, with the North to receive 400,000 tons of rice from the South as part of the deal.