Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security Jamie Metzl writes for Caixin on the benefits of Korean reunification, especially for China:
Someday, high-speed rail and communications links will connect southern Korea to northeast China. This corridor will weave together southern Korea’s advanced technology, northern Korea’s low cost labor and natural resources, and China’s manufacturing expertise into an unparalleled and mutually beneficial value chain. Korean reunification will make this possible. It will also reduce regional tension, advance mutual understanding, and increase wealth and well-being in Northeast Asia more broadly. China will be an enormous beneficiary. It will also be its catalyst.
Here is why.
For nearly three decades, North Korea has developed its nuclear weapons program because the country’s leaders feel they need nuclear weapons to survive. Observing the fate of Saddam’s Hussein’s Iraq, whose lack of nuclear weapons made it susceptible to attack in the first and second Gulf Wars, and of Ukraine, which gave up its nuclear weapons in exchange for security promises later violated by Moscow, Pyongyang has logically concluded that nuclear weapons are the ultimate guarantor of national sovereignty and security in a dangerous world. Although Iran may be negotiating some limits on its nuclear capabilities, it is hard to imagine the leaders in Pyongyang, who are more insecure, less connected to the world, and further along in their nuclear weapons program, would voluntarily give up their greatest asset in exchange for security guarantees they would likely never trust.