10/04/2010, 00.00
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Korea, Berlin to teach Seoul how to reunify a country

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
A Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two governments formalized decision: Germany will provide the necessary advice towards a possible reunification of the Korean peninsula. The problems are enormous, both economically and socially. For over a decade, the Church has been engaged in the field.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - In the event of reunification of the Korean peninsula Germany will provide advice to the government in the South, to help manage the economic crisis in the North and the millions of refugees that would flow across the border. This was announced by the German Government after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretary of the Interior in Berlin, Christoph Bergner, and the South Korean vice minister for unification issues Chun Sig Kim.

The two sides will set up a committee to establish if and how the model implemented by the reunification of Germany in the early nineties can be applied to Korea. "We know that every country has its own specific political conditions and peculiarities - Bergner said - but we are ready to share our experience on the outcome of the German question and the reconstruction of East Germany”.

The Korean peninsula has been divided in two since 1948, when north of the 38th parallel, the communist inspired Democratic People's Republic of Korea was founded, and to the south the Republic of Korea, with a presidential system and a government closer to that of the U.S.. In 1950, the North's attempt to invade the south caused the American entry into the conflict, heading a coalition authorized by the UN Security Council (then boycotted by the Soviets). The sudden entry of China into the war alongside North Korea resulted in a stalemate that led to the end of hostilities in 1953, leaving the two Koreas the same boundaries as in 1948.

Currently, the authorities of the South are concerned about a possible reunion: unlike the German situation, in fact, the imbalance between the two nations is enormous. It is not just a question of currency or an economy in crisis, but a real comparison between an industrialized nation and a third world nation, home to over 22 million people.

The Korean Catholic Church is well aware of the problems linked to the end of the Pyongyang regime. For at least a decade, under the guidance of the late Cardinal Stephen Kim, the Catholics of the South work in shelters to help the refugees from the North. At the border, near the demilitarized zone a large free hospital and a centre dedicated to Don Bosco has been operating for three years and the local clergy hope it will serve as first point of call for those who run away from the regime of Kim Jong-il .

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