What Could And Would A Federal Korea Look Like?


The preceding week has seen a lot of rumor about the health of Chairman Kim Jong Un, which we have explored here, but what could and would a federal Korea look like if there was unification?

One of the general trends that people mention when dealing the unification of the Korean peninsula using the German model. That being the collapse of the north, and its abortion into the south as one big republic.

This theory whilst popular globally is not popular on either sides of the 38th parallel, for reasons we will explore intros article.

The northern view on reunification was initially pioneered by President Kim Il Sung in 1972, and again reiterated in 1980. This called for both countries keeping their political systems, leaders and ideology, whilst having a unified Korean upper chamber, defense, etc and it being a completely neutral state, to be called the Confederal Republic of Koryo. Koryo being the old name of Korea.

Many have criticized that model, particularly those on the right-wing of the spectrum, but proponents point to China’s “one country two systems” as a success, not withstanding the recent events in Hong Kong.

Now whilst this policy has been anything but embraced in South Korea, many leaders and commentators have suggested, initially at least some kind of federal system at the outset to ease integration, and essentially protect the already fragile economy of the Republic of Korea.

There have been various suggestions, and names mooted about how this might work, such as the north temporarily being the “Republic of Koryo” but most ideas tend to centre around some kind of Korean customs union, closer to the EU, rather than the German model. 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.

Any who knows? With the events of the last 16 days still very much unclear, maybe there are bunch of people behind closed doors planning exactly what Korean unification might look like.

Time will surely tell.