When western “experts” talk about what a unified Korea would look like, it is usually through the lens of the North Korean regime falling and being incorporated into the South.
You could call this the Germany model. There are numerous reasons why this would not work, both from the standpoint in just how different the countries now are culturally, to the differences in GDP and economy. Here’s another article written by our staff about the issue.
The DPRK obviously do not agree with this assessment and President Kim Il Sung put his views on the matter public in both 1972 and 1980.
The Confederal Republic of Koryo
Kim Il Sung formulated a plan whereby both countries would retain their economic systems and leaders. It would have a unified upper chamber with equal representation from both sides, as well as a unified Presidency and national defense. It would be completely neutral and all foreign troops would be withdrawn from the country. Learn more here.
This has obviously drawn scorn from right-wing commentators, but in reality this system already exists to agree with the One-China Two Systems policy between China and Hong Kong. Not withstanding the current issues this has largely been a success.
Koryo was the previous name of Korea.
The view from the south of Korea?
Whilst south Korean politicians have not exactly jumped at this idea to be government policy, many have suggested something similar.
Korean Customs Union
It has been suggested that as a precursor to eventual Korean Unification, some kind of customs union could be initiated first. This could begin as a simple customs union, but grow more integrated as things progress, with similarities being the European Union for example. This would allow unification to go at a speed dictated by the Korean people, and not outside influences. It would also allow both countries to retain their economic systems and forms of government.
How this might work and for how long is something still very much in the theoretical phase, but it is certainly an interesting alternative to the presumed capture, or capitulation of one, or the other.
KOREA IS ONE!!