The solution to Korean Unification

 

The U.S. has refused to relax economic sanctions against North Korea. Moon had previously pressed for the easing of such restrictions and sought to resume stalled inter-Korean economic projects such as a joint factory park and mountain resort. U.S. President Donald Trump opposed a request by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to resume economic cooperation with North Korea at a summit on June 30, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

More than half of South Korea’s university-age students now possess a positive view toward Korean unification. That’s according to a new poll conducted by the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee. The survey was conducted in early November, canvassing more than 1,000 university students nationwide. Unification of South and North Korea present many problem beyond ideological differences.

  1. Economic Consequences:  South Korea’s GDP is many times multiplied over it’s North Korean Counterpart.  The gross domestic product (GDP) of North Korea is estimated to be $40 billion in 2015, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, which has not given any updated GDPinformation since that date. In terms of GDP per capita, North Korea had a per capita GDP of $1,700.  The South Korean FDP is estimated to be over 1.531 trillion USD (2017).  If unification took place, the South Korean portion of the peninsula would be largely responsible for developing its Northern counterpart, although on a plus side, the North Koreans have a vast military and its own natural resources. In due time, it could supply the South Koreans with many benefits. Its a short term cost versus a long term investment.
  2.  Political Involvement:   If Korea returned to its former empire of the Joseon Kingdom, who would be its ruler? Kim Jong Un or Moon , Jae-In?  This would arguably be the largest hurdle. The people of both North and South Korea would have to hold a new election in order to bring in a fresh new government. Would the government be capitalist or communist in nature? Would both leaders be willing to give up their own power in order to bring about unification?
  3.  Foreign Influence:  If you study the history of Korea (Joseon Kingdom), you will quickly learn that the North and South are merely consequences of the Cold War between Russia and the United States. After the end of WW2, Russia (then USSR) and the USA, divided Korean ownership into two nation states. Much like what happened in Germany and Vietnam. In a sense, the Korean struggle is a proxy war between the USA and communist Russia. Until the Korean people realize that they are essentially puppets of the old USSR and modern United States of America, they will fail to see the con-artistry that was placed upon their brethren. If the North and South unite, they will arguably be one of the most powerful nations in the world. This is contrary to the interests of China, Russia, and the United States. Many of these so called “peace-talks”, are merely for show, and the Koreans must be privy to this.
  4. Assimilation:  Once unification happens, most Koreans will defect to the south since it is more economically sound than the north. How will the economy absorb this? How will the culture be affected on a local scale? How will society integrate them? Many reports already show North Koreans being discriminated against in the southern regions due to them being far behind in terms of education and physical health. How will North Korea’s military weapons and natural resources be combined with South Korea’s military power and natural resources?
  5. Cooperation from Foreign countries:  China, Russia, and the United States all have an economic and political stake in the Korean Peninsula. All three countries must be on board with this assimilation. By combining both Northern and Southern provinces, the peninsula could theoretically obtain vast powers that could rival China, Russia, and the United States.  Just as President Moon has recently attempted to create a joint business venture with Chairman Kim in the form of a joint factor and vacation resort transcending the DMZ, American President Donald Trump, blocked such a measure stating that North Korea must agree to reduce its nuclear program even more so. We must trust South Koreans in their attempts to negotiate with North Koreans. The United States, Russia, and China must all work together by taking a step back and allowing the people of both North and South Korea to negotiate their own affairs. Sometimes, doing less is akin to doing more. President Moon and Chairman Kim must take more initiative in negotiating the sovereignty of their kinship by relying less on foreign powers; specifically Russia, China, and the United States. Nobody knows the Korean people better than those who speak the language and live in the culture of the Korean Kingdom formerly known as “Joseon”.    The Koreans of both the North and South have far more to gain than the Russians, Chinese, and Americans have to lose.

My grandfather, Sargent James Edwards Watkins of the US Army, fought in the Korean war, who is now deceased, would love to see a unified Korea. Economically, politically, and socially, it would not be an easy task, however, in the spirit of freedom and liberty, I believe that perhaps after 10 or 20 years post-unification, Korea could very well become the most powerful nation in east Asian and quite possible become beacon of hope and a positive example to all countries within close proximity within the region including the South-East Asian portion.

Through localization of alliances and communications within the east and southeast regions of Asia, I believe that the Korea peninsula can become a shining example of social and economical prosperity and responsible power.   Militarily, North Korea is quite capable, socially and economically, South Korea has much to offer. If both regions were to successfully reunite, I truly believe that the region could become a leader in the United Nation Security Council and perhaps replace China as one of the “P-5” nations appointed to the UN on foreign affairs. The Korean peninsula is unique in the sense of its economic and military power. Under the right circumstances, I believe that this unification could create a new force in the region that could fundamentally preserve peace, prosperity, and human rights.

The sinful karma of the Cold War must be accounted for. The sins of the past, if healed correctly could restore the former honor of Korea as it once held prior to the Japanese invasion of 1910. North Koreans and South Koreans have one thing in common, they are Koreans!  They speak the same language, and have the same blood coursing through their veins. They must no longer allow themselves to continue being the consequence of the Cold War between Russia and the USA. Until both the North and South Koreans can realize that they are merely puppets to foreign forces, they will be blinded by their own selfish ambitions and never truly realize the power they are capable of as a shared race of people.

To the people of Korea, I say to you, GOOD LUCK and 감사함니다 (thank you), for listening to the words of a humble Migukin (American), who truly loves, respects, and admires the resolve of the Kingdom of Korea. Please continue to fight for the sovereignty and prosperity of your land, absence of foreign influence or manipulation. Take charge of your bloodline and reclaim what is rightfully yours! Only the Korean people can solve the problem of the Korean people. The Americans, the Russians, and the Chinese are merely hurdles to overcome. In the end, it is up to the Korean people to realize the strength and beauty of a reunited culture that will be soon known as the restored Kingdom of Korea.

  • Randell Stroud
  • Nalini-Global
  • 2019

한국 청정 대기 행동 (Korea Clean Air Action) 2019 by Randell Stroud- Nalini-Global

한국 청정 대기 행동 (Korea Clean Air Action 2019)

By: Randell D Stroud on behalf of Nalini-Global

Submitted to:

3/20/2019

Table of Contents:

I:  Problem Introduction

II: History of yellow dust & fine dust

III. Solutions

 

  I. Introduction:

 This report will attempt to explain the environmental issues facing the Korean peninsula in regards to the “fine dust” or “yellow dust” phenomena which effects the health of Koreans on an annual bases for days, weeks, or even sometimes months at a time.  In this report, we will discuss the history behind these environmental events, its causes, and possible solutions.  “Fine Dust” or “Yellow Dust”, refer to harmful particulates found in the air stemming from the deserts of Mongolia and west China. Pollutants coming from domestic and foreign man-made sources from factories, combustion engines, methane gases, and refineries will also be considered.

 II. History.

“Fine Dust” or “Asian Dust” , affects much of East Asia all-year round but especially during the months of March, April, and May. The yellow tinted particulates derive from the deserts of Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan, where high-speed surface winds and severe dust storms, push sand particles into the atmosphere . These “Sand clouds” are then pushed eastward by wind currents that pass over China, North and South Korea,Japan,  and Eastern Russia. On rare occasion, the particulates are carried as far as the western coast of California, affecting the air quality there to a certain degree.

In recent years, it has become a serious problem due to the increasing industrialization of China and Korea, factories and refineries spew pollutants that mix with the dust coming from the deserts of China. This combination has been causing more frequent occurrences of the fine-dust phenomena. In the last few decades the Aral Sea of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have began drying up due to the diversion of the Amu River and Syr River following a Soviet agricultural program to irrigate Central Asian deserts, mainly for cotton plantations.

Recently, it has been discovered that yellow dust consists of fine dust and ultrafine dust particles.[1] Fine dust consists of fine particular matter (PM). Particles smaller than 10µm in diameter are classified as fine PM (PM10), while particles smaller than 2.5µm in diameter are classified as ultrafine PM (PM2.5). Both fine and ultrafine dust particles impose dangers to health. Fine dust particles are small enough to penetrate deep into the lung alveoli. Ultrafine dust particles are so small that after they also penetrate into the blood or lymphatic system through the lungs. Once in the bloodstream, ultrafine particles can even reach the brain or fetal organs. “– From Wikipedia with sources”

According to an article written by the US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health,   “Estimation of the effects of heavy Asian dust on respiratory function by definition type” ,  showed a direct correlation between respiratory problems and fine dust, especially on days with heavy particulate readings.  As illustrated in  the report, “Socio-Economic Costs from Yellow Dust Damages in South Korea” by Dai-Yeun Jeong,  states that,  “……Socio-economic Cost Estimated by Contingent Valuation Method. Kang et al. (2004) estimated the socio-economic cost assuming that yellow dust occurs an average 14 days per year. They first estimated the socio-economic cost per person, and multiplied this for the whole population and total cost. As is shown in Table 3, the cost was estimated as US$29.51 per person a
year. Multiplied by total number of people in Korea an estimated cost of US$ 44.123 million results. The total socio-economic cost is then estimated as US$ 5,921.639 million when a discount rate of 7.5% is applied.” 

Not only does the Asian dust epidemic affect the economy and the health of Korean citizens, but also on the marine life in the oceans surrounding the Korean peninsula. According to a study published by Sciencedaily.com — ” East Asian dust deposition impacts on marine biological productivity” December 6, 2016–” —  the article states, “…Results showed that dust containing iron was the most important factor affecting phytoplankton growth and the deposition of iron via severe dust storms satisfied the increase in demand required for phytoplankton growth (115-291%), followed by nitrogen (it accounted for up to 1.7-4.0%), and phosphorus was the smallest one (it accounted for up to 0.2-0.5%).”

Now that we have a basic understanding and what factors are causing this natural disaster, compounded by man-made waste, we must now ask ourselves, “What can be done about it?”

 

Solutions:  

In January of 2019, President Moon Jae-in, announced, South Korea will produce 6.2 million units of fuel cell electric vehicles and build 1,200 refilling stations across the country by 2040 as an effort to create more sustainable energy and less pollution in the nation.  According to the article, “Seoul’s Answer to a Pollution Crisis: Free Public Transit” by Linda Poon, Alongside this push as part of an emergency plan announced last year by Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, the city will make public transit free during rush hours on days when the air quality index reaches above 50 and is expected to stay there for at least a day. To fund the measure, Park set aside 24.9 billion won (about $23 million USD) in December, stating that the air quality had turned into a natural disaster which warranted access to use emergency disaster relief revenue.

Last month, Thailand began deploying manned drones to spraying water into the air in an effort to clear the debris. The degree of success from these results are unknown, but I assume them to be of little value considering  no public reports being issued stating any major improvements.  Thai authorities announced on Jan.24, 2019, that they have arrested the operator of a website that may have  falsely claimed that a woman had died as a result of a small “PM 2.5” particulate matter that experts say is one of the most dangerous constituents of air pollution because it can penetrate deep into the lungs.

Chinese industrialization is often cited as a reason for increased fine dust occurrences.  Tradingeconomics.com– National Bureau of Statistics China – Show massive amount of increased industrialization from 1990-2015, where production began to level out. China’s population of 1.4 billion people is also of significance.  China’s firework displays during the Lantern Festival and stagnant air over the Korean peninsula are the main culprits for the dangerously high levels of ultra-fine dust pollution in South Korea at the end of February, a Seoul City-run environment agency said on Wednesday (March 6). -“High density of ultra-fine dust continued recently because the weather condition caused air over the Korean peninsula to be stagnant and delayed diffusion of pollutants stemming within the country and from abroad,” said Mr Shin Yong-seung of the Research Institute of Public Health and Environment.” -The agency traced the chemical elements travelling from China to South Korea on two occasions – from Feb 17 to Feb 23 and from Feb 27 to Tuesday. (Source: Korea Herald)

In order to combat this issue, we must use a combination of natural, political, and technological means.

  1. Plant based city-wide filtration via a “Green initiative” with a new city planning development project which will envelop the city rooftops and intersections with certain plants known to filter toxins in the air.
  2. Switch Korean vehicles from combustion based to election based by the year 2040.
  3.  Pass regulations requiring manufacturers to install and maintain all filtration, boilers, and equipment in their facilities in order to reduce emissions.
  4.  Hold an east Asian convention compelling afflicted nations to take measures in combating Asian dust.  Mongolia, China, Russia, South/North Korea.

 

In phase #1, I am inspired by the NASA clean air study regarding plant life.  The Clean Air study found that English Ivy,  The Snake Plant,  the Peace Lily, and several other plants are very effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air—chemicals that have been linked to health effects like headaches and eye irritation. Urban areas like Seoul, and Gangnam, are full of empty rooftops which could be fitted with these plants. Sidewalks, highways, and intersections could also be equipped with plant life to filter out these toxins. The study found that a single tree could potentially filter out a 100 sq ft radius.  These plants collect the dust, filter the air, and hold onto the dust, only to be washed away by a rainy day at a later time. The effects will be subtle at first, but can be dramatic as the project grows. Koreans will certainly feel the difference even by fixing these plants into their living-rooms at home.

President Moon and other leaders could potentially create a huge public works project, employing citizens to plant and maintain this project which would also create thousands of jobs of unemployed or semi-retired Koreans. Since this is an international issue, funds could be gathered via taxation, international relief funds, and by a global public announcement campaign championing for voluntary donations.

In phase#2, President Moon has already done a fantastic job in pushing for an alternative to combustion vehicles. By 2040, if Korea sees a switch from combustion to electric, particulate levels are certain to decrease by a large degree. With the rise of the Tesla corporation in the west, the practicality and popularity of this idea is growing rapidly.

In phase #3, inspectors must hold corporations to a higher standard in both China and Korea. Boiler-makers and other filtration systems that are not properly maintained have been shown to increase air pollution and reduce productivity of equipment. By not properly maintaining these facilities or by failing to upgrade outdated technologies, companies suffer economically due to equipment stagnation, and the people of China and Korea suffer environmentally and biologically.

In phase #4, we have to build a coalition that includes China, Russia, Mongolia, and both North and South Korea.  By agreeing to mutual regulations, combining incomes and efforts of scientists, political sanctions and talks of aggression can be mitigated by a mutual desire to have clean air for their respective citizen to enjoy.  Cross-contamination caused by neighboring countries must be addressed in a friendly dialogue in order to establish a sense of brotherhood.

This report is simplistic and indirect, but points us in the right direction. Collaborative and creative methods are a winning combination that are sure to yield results. If President Moon Jae-in, Chairman Kim Jong-Un, Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh of Mongolia, President Vladamir Putin, and President Xi Jinping, are willing to organize a coalition, Nalini-Global will volunteer it’s research efforts towards this project.

 

Sincerely,

Randell D Stroud,

Human rights specialist/Paralegal

Nalini-Global

CC:

Division of Environmental Law and Conventions
P.O Box 30552, 00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 20 7624011
Fax: +254 20 7624300
E-mail Address: delc@unep.org

Ministry of Environment South Korea:

Government Complex-Sejong, 11, Doum 6-Ro, Sejong-si, 30103, Republic of Korea: E-mail address: mepr@korea.kr

 

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Cultural Immersion

Unlike most of my peers, I grew up in a very diverse environment. Being a Caucasian male, most people would view me as being a part of the “majority”. Alas, in my hometown of Nashville,Tn, I grew up in Inglewood, an area where Caucasians are the minority. My Wushu (Kung Fu) teacher was from Indonesia.  My best friends were from Cambodia and the kids at my lunch table who taught me how to unleash poetic rap verses were mostly African-American.

My mother and aunt were born in Germany. My girlfriend in tech-school was Chinese. My co-workers at my first professional job working with the Dell corporation were mainly Muslim refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. One of my first boxing students was from India who frequently invited me to events at the Hindu temple he attended services at. Needless to say, being around different types of cultures doesn’t bother or make me feel uncomfortable,in fact, I thrive on it! The notion of , “Birds of the same feather, flock together”, isn’t unfounded.

If you grew up in Japan, you probably feel comfortable being around Japanese people. If your skin is white, and your family is white, you probably feel comfortable being around those who look the same as you or share some kind of cultural similarity. It isn’t racist or bigoted to feel comfortable around those who look and believe as you do and it isn’t bigoted to feel uncomfortable around those who look different or believe different as you do…although it does say something about our world-view and experiences. (or lack thereof)

If you are not privileged enough to live a life that allows you to travel the world or take vacations outside of your hometown, do not fret! There is a way to become cultured without having to fork over thousands of dollars for plane tickets, hotels, and passports. You could joint the Army (Pray that you don’t get sent to Iraq), Join the Peace-Corps (Can you commit to two years, do you have a BA degree?), go on a religious mission….. what if none of these appeal to you. There is one last resort.

Live vicariously through other people!

Is there a Mosque in your neighborhood? Go visit! Attend a service! Do you see a foreign co-worker who sits alone and eats his/her lunch? Talk to them, get to know them, perhaps they can teach you their language or invite you to meet their family. Are you a Christian? Well, most Koreans are too! Visit a Korean church service and get to know the Korean community in your neighborhood. But, how do we approach foreigners?

It can sometimes be awkward, but with the power of Google, we can overcome such awkwardness through the power of language! By simply learning a few phrases of another language, you can instantly bridge gaps between yourself and foreigners!

I remember working as an office manager for a huge retail chain whereas we frequently has foreign customers. One time an Egyptian man comes through and is very upset that his product failed him in such a short time. He was irate! I asked him to calm down, (which he did), after he got silent, I said, “Shukran” (which means “Thank you” in Arabic). He began to smile, and he said, “You know my language!?”, I responded, “Only a few words”, and I smiled back. The entire tone of the conversation switched from negative to positive. The customer left the store happy and we resolved the situation. Even if we cannot afford or have the opportunity to travel the world, we can live vicariously through the experiences of our foreign neighbors. My Christian friends often remind me of a Bible verse, “Leviticus 19:34” – which commands us to treat foreigners as if they were our own family.

     
 (Venerable Sokham and I during Khmai New Year)

 

Last month, I was invited to attend a New Years party at a Khmer Buddhist Temple. In the Cambodian tradition, the New Year falls in the month of April, not January, as they operate on a different calendar. During this party, I had some interesting conversations with the head monk who goes by the name, “Mr.Sokham” or “Venerable Sokham”. We discussed Khmer Horoscopes, Karma, and other things related to Cambodian cultural norms. Two weeks later, I found myself attending an ordination ceremony of a newly certified monk at a Thai temple.

(Thai ordination festival)

During these events, I often have those “eureka” moments. I look around and realize, “Hey! I am the only white guy here!” Foreigners often form close knit groups who have insecurities towards native citizens such as myself. They fear they we look down upon them or we secretly want them to be deported. However, I have learned that once you earn their trust and show an interest in their culture, they will quickly adopt you as if you were an unofficial family member. During my time with Muslim refugees, Cambodian monks, Chinese law students, Hindu Clerics, so and so forth, I have never felt out of place but very welcomed because of these principles.

Our relationship with foreigners only becomes awkward when we approach them in fear. Like animals, we humans also pick up on negative vibes. If you come with arms wide-open, and a mind that extends even further, you will enrich your knowledge of how the world works. When you have an interaction with someone who is from another country, think of it as if you get to travel to their country free of charge! If you want to visit Korea, make friends with a Korean. If you want to visit Brazil, make friends with a Brazilian. If you want to smell the foods of Thailand, become friends with a Thai!

Lastly, after spending time with various different cultures, soon you find your own sense of identity began to change. I used to frequently identify myself as a “German”. And I was proud of my heritage. I still am in many ways. “Danke!” (Thank you in German).

However, after making friends with so many people from around the world, I now identify with my Humanity more than I do with my German ancestry or my American citizenship. Although those things are still very important to my character and function in society, I will never let it outshine my humanity and the qualities that are unable to be differentiated from any other person. Qualities such as compassion, a desire for food, shelter, love, and the universal challenges that face every human being, challenges like finding a job, overcoming health issues, and finding that special someone to share your life with.

At 29 years old, I’ve learned that the culture of man supersedes the culture of a nation. Yet, we cannot understand humanity as a whole until we experience the individual parts that make up that whole. Where I go next is anybody’s guess, but you can bet that it will be an adventure worth mentioning!

NALINI GLOBAL – 2017