In the image, courtesy of Google Maps, I’ve used markers to propose the Partition of North Korea into areas controlled by: China - pink, Russia - orange, and South Korea - green. One thing to note on the map that suggests the borders for the Partition of North Korea is that Russia extends its coastline on the Sea of Japan, while China continues to not have a port on the Sea of Japan. Thus it avoids creating a body of water shared by China and Japan.
THE KOREAN WAR NEVER ENDED
Let’s start with the statement that the Korean War never ended. It was only a cease-fire and not a final peace settlement.
When I visited South Korea in 1995, I remember one of my South Korean hosts mentioning this to me. He said that all the allies that participated on behalf of the South still keep at least one military representative on South Korean soil in the event that war should start again. That way each of the countries could re-enter the war without any new or official declaration needing approval from their respective governments.
This includes troops from the following countries: Belgium, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, the Philippines. Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and of course the United States.
Whereas the three powers on the ‘communist’ side of the war were: China, North Korea and Russia.
THE TOTAL END OF SUPPORT FOR NORTH KOREA
All nations of the world should stop supporting North Korea. This would also mean the end to ‘guest workers’ from North Korea. There are perhaps 100,000 ‘guest workers’ who work under slave-like conditions and whose remittances go to support the North Korea regime far more than their own families.
In addition, North Korea’s neighbours need to turn totally against it. So what would happen if the two participants that sided with North Korea: China and Russia, decided to stop supporting North Korea? What if they decided to actually take over some of North Korea’s territory?
In addition, what if they collaborated with South Korea to do so and South Korea indeed agreed that it favoured the idea? What if China and Russia also agreed that South Korea should share in taking over a piece of territory presently controlled by North Korea? What if all three parties also agreed to partition the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, in a style reminiscent of Constantinople after World War I and Berlin after World War II? If such cooperation were to take place, historians might look back on this as the ‘Partition of North Korea’.
When we study history in high school, at some point we breeze through what is often just a footnote called the ‘Partition of Poland’. It’s incredible to think that the country that married together with Lithuania to become the biggest nation in eastern Europe would at one point would disappear from the political map for more than a hundred years.
Since North Korea doesn’t exist as a distinct ethnic group or language group, it is much more imaginable to to picture its disappearance from the political map than that of Poland. It’s also much more imaginable to picture that it would never return to the map, as Poland has.
With the case of Poland in the 1700’s, three surrounding powers: Austria, Prussia and Russia gobbled up territory in phases. Other big powers (namely France, the Ottoman Empire, Sweden and the United Kingdom) may have been interested in saving Poland. Each for a unique reason however, did nothing to stop it.
So if nobody came to Poland’s rescue, who would be interested in coming to North Korea’s rescue if all three of its neighbours agree to partition it? My belief is that nobody would save North Korea. Few outside of North Korea’s borders would even make an attempt at mentioning why we should keep the independent nation-state of North Korea.
So now let’s consider the case for the Partition of North Korea. First of all, unlike Poland, the partition should happen in one phase. Three big powers: China, Russia and South Korea could agree to gobble up North Korea.
WOULD THE UNITED NATIONS PLAY A ROLE?
If in the UN, members came to the consensus to eliminate North Korea as the next stage beyond sanctions against North Korea, that could be one way of preparing for the Partition of North Korea. https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/UN-Security-Council-Resolutions-on-North-Korea
There would be many questions surrounding such a partition. Would discussions really be needed in the UN? What if China, Russia and South Korea just engaged in communications amongst themselves to plan out the partition? What kinds of breaches of protocol would take place were a three-way summit between the three parties to take place rather than a discussion in the UN?
The best thing would be for North Korea to give into the partition peacefully. The three neighbouring powers should first persuade Kim Jung Un to come to an agreement peacefully to partition the country.
BENEFITS TO THE COMMON PEOPLE OF NORTH KOREA
The common citizens of North Korea could live a healthier and more prosperous life under the rule of their three neighbours rather than continuing under the Kim Dynasty.
While Poland in the 18th century was unstable and struggled with members of government under the influence of foreigners, North Korea is an irrational actor with a dynastic, autocratic rule. In both cases, there is a sense of instability that makes the case for partition sensible to the neighbouring countries.
There is a sense of instability that is analogous to both Poland of the 18th century and the present situation of North Korea. The final partition of Poland came in light of the new form of government with its democratic ideals in a neighbourhood dominated by autocratic powers.
In the case of North Korea, its partition can come as a result of three powers coming together because it is in their best interest to increase stability in the region and to find ways to improve prosperity for the common people of North Korea.
Similar to Poland, none of it neighbours want to see North Korea become too strong. Also in parallel to Poland, there is a dysfunctional government. Although there is no civil war in North Korea, there is an inferior standard of living for many of the people who live there. There are gulags to suppress the people. There is malnutrition. There is a poor quality of life.
Just the image of North Korea with hardly any lights on outside of Pyongyang is enough to demonstrate how North Korea lags behind.
Add to this the poverty and the contrast between the tourist showcase and the real life.
The first video suggests that even running water is a luxury in much of the country.
PERPETUAL SELF INTEREST OF AN AUTOCRATIC DYNASTY
North Korea has a belligerent regime that is unconcerned about the health and well-being of its own people. Kim Jung Un is reminiscent of Stalin. Consider the example of the execution of his own uncle and the motives behind the execution.
The North Korean leader’s primary interest is the continuation of his own regime. Unlike its neighbours to the North, North Korea formed a dynastic autocracy and has failed to embrace capitalism as a way to improve the quality of life of its citizens. So in terms of capitalistic goals of having a new market to sell goods and services to, all three neighbours would benefit by partitioning North Korea and working to lift the quality of life of those residing there.
The planet should see the lessons from Libya and Iraq that you need a solid government to take control of the vacuum. By distributing the control among three strong powers, it becomes more affordable and more stable to take over the vacuum.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHINA, RUSSIA AND SOUTH KOREA
All three would benefit from new infrastructure projects in the territory and the people who live there would benefit from the new goods and services that would arrive to improve the quality of their lives. Whenever North Korea collapses, there will be a burden of lifting it up out of poverty. This burden will be easier if all three neighbours share the burden of helping build up North Korea.
The Partition of North Korea would create a more harmonious balance of power and improve relations and trade between China, Russia and South Korea. With the Partition of North Korea, the Korean War can come to an official end at last. China and Russia can make agreements with South Korea to reduce the presence of troops there. Japan and the US could enter into the delicate discussion on the future of the area.
One of the concerns is the control of nuclear weapons in North Korea. With China and Russia taking over the northern stretches of North Korea, these two countries could gain control of the main nuclear facilities in the country. Since they are already part of the nuclear club, there would be no concerns of a new member joining, such as South Korea. The territory that South Korea would take over has uranium deposits. Russia would take over the nuclear test facility while China would take over the suspected underground nuclear facility.
Rather than partitioning North Korea in phases as happened to Poland, North Korea’s neighbours could simply ’wipe it off the map’.
Another reason the partition makes sense is that China would not accept such a full-size united Korea on its borders. Instead, I recommend that the three neighbouring powers split North Korea according to the map that I’ve included with this opinion piece. With regards to the capital, Pyongyang, all three countries should share in the administration of the city. The could work out the details. Ideally the city would not require border crossings.
If you’re concerned that the ethnic Korean would be divided and come under rule of a foreign power, remember that both China and Russia already have many ethnic groups under their rule.
China could adopt 北韓省 while Russia could administer Северная Корейская область. South Korea could change its name to just Korea and could gain control of a bit of extra territory as well. It could build up relations and trade with the Koreans who live in the areas controlled by China and Russia.
The implications for China and Russia would be a chance to have populations that could be bilingual who could engage in successful trade with the Koreans to the south of the border. The end result would be a Korea that would be still be smaller in size so as not to threaten the balance of power as China fears.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIM DYNASTY MEMBERS?
It would be customary to offer a luxurious life in exile to Kim Jong Un and his immediate family. Exotic locales such as Ekaterinaberg, Russia or Changchun, Jilin Province, China could be options. If the Kim family prefers to stay in a Korean-speaking environment, why not consider Ganghwado in Korea, or how about turning The Mangyongbong into exclusive Kim yacht http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2032602/North-Korea-launches-cruise-liner.html or a permanent place on ‘The World’?
Or maybe he Kim Jong Un could become a talk show host or better yet a pundit who talks about future of North Korea under three different powers.
REACTIONS FROM JAPAN AND USA?
The strangest thing about the Partition of North Korea will be the reactions in Donald Trump’s Twitter feeds. Also, how will the US troops avoid getting involved in the whole thing? Another thing to wonder about is whether South Korea would use its Samsung killer robots during the partition process. Would South Korea make agreements with China and Russia to keep the robots out of it the partition?
After the partition of North Korea, how much longer would US troops need to remain in the Korean Peninsula? How would Japan feel about the shift in the balance of power? What would be the role of US troops in Japan after the Partition of North Korea? How would the Partition of North Korea be seen by the arms industry, the infamous 'military industrial complex' that Eisenhower warned us about?
Another question is what kind of resistance would we see from the North Koreans outside of Kim Jung Un’s family? Would it be a peaceful or violent partition? Would the North Koreans launch any rockets or use any submarine power in resistance? If so, where would they be used? What about chemical weapons? After the partition, would North Koreans put up a lot of resistance? Or would they embrace the change with open arms? What kind of ‘psy-ops’ or ‘psychological operations’ would be required in advance to prevent North Korean military resistance to the Partition of North Korea?
Would Korea and Japan feel at ease if US troops at that point were to withdraw after awhile?
Imagine the if the area we know as North Korea were to become a special zone where it temporarily maintain its borders to its three neighbours. The flow of people and goods in and out could still be controlled. Local residents could slowly come into contact with Chinese, Russians and South Koreans. After the partition, the Chinese-occupied area could begin to study Mandarin, the Russian-occupied area could begin to study Russian, while the South Korean-occupied area could begin to learn the new vocabulary and idiomatic expressions that are used in South Korea, along with choices of other languages such as Chinese, English, German, Japanese, and Russian, for example. Those in the Chinese and Russian areas could of course be encouraged to study other languages as well.
STEEMIT AS ALTERNATIVE POTENTIAL VENUE TO DISCUSS FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES
One of the things about Steemit is the opportunity to see whether this idea makes its way to the eyes and ears of foreign policy makers in Beijing, Moscow, and Seoul. North Korea is not the most popular topic on Steemit at the moment, so the word needs to get out beyond the regular Steemit community and into the minds of a greater and wider audience.
For now this article seems to be the most upvoted on Steemit:
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