Barriers to reconciliation in East Asia: the case of two Koreas and its regional implications
Reconciliation is something desirable, anywhere in the world, between individuals, or within nations or between different peoples in a larger region. Yet I think the need for regional reconciliation and cooperation has been heightened by the process of globalization. On the one hand, the capitalist logic of globalization is producing not a uniformly globalized world, but rather leading to creations of various regional blocks. That region which is slow in forming some kind of a regional framework suffers a disadvantage vis-à-vis other regions. We know that Europe and North America are the two major regions that have taken the lead in forming regional frameworks, and East Asia is falling behind in the process. So even according to the capitalist logic, there’s this need for regional cooperation. However, I think there is also the need for regional alliances of the people or ordinary citizens in order to more effectively counter neo-liberal globalization, and perhaps be able to pursue an alternative globalization from below. So, reconciliation and overcoming the barriers to reconciliation in East Asia have become doubly important.
Paik Nak-chung is Professor Emeritus of English at Seoul National University, and the registered editor of The Changbi Quarterly.