North Korea Explained. The Difference Between North & South Korea


This video is going to look at the difference
between North and South Korea and the challenges of reunification. After World War 2, Korea regained its autonomy
from Imperial Japan. On August 10 1945, the 38th parallel was established as the dividing
line between the Soviet administered North and American administered South. The Korean
war made this supposedly temporary division seemingly permanent. We already know that after 70 years of separation,
the differences between the authoritarian North and democratic South Korea couldn’t
be more profound. There is constant tension from nuclear tests, military skirmishes, threats
of turning one side or the other into ‘powder’. Even though officials from both countries
met again in December 2015 to discuss improved relations, the failed unification talks in
1972 and 2000, coupled with the intense secrecy of Kim Jon Un’s regime, leave plenty of
room for well-founded skepticism. But let’s go deeper with this topic. Anyone
could tell you that finding the political will for unification will be difficult. What
would reunification actually look like? The first factor is the means by which the
unification comes about. Since 1969, the South Korean Government has maintained a Ministry
of Unification, which plans for the scenario of a gradual reuniting of the two countries.
Indeed, most reunification plans are premised in gradual integration over time. However,
many experts believe that a total collapse of the north korean regime is the only way
reunification could ever truly happen. But this is the nightmare scenario for world
governments. A sudden collapse of the North Korean regime would leave Nuclear Arms unsecured.
North Korea has nuclear weapons estimated between 10-15 kilotons in strength. North
Korea experiences nearly constant famine. Collapse would lead to the evacuation of potentially
millions of refugees to the South and to China. In fact, in leaked documents, the Chinese
already have emergency planning for this scenario which includes gathering North Korean refugees
in camps, turning back ‘undesirables’ at the border, and protecting North Korean
military & political leaders from what they call ‘foreign influence’. But even if stage one after a collapse is
handled orderly, there are huge obstacles to a smooth unification. First, after 7 decades of separation, the
language and culture of the two Koreas has shifted dramatically. For example, though
both dialects of Korean maintain similar grammar, experts estimate that up to one third of words
used on a daily basis have diverged, and it currently takes north korean defectors up
to 2 years to feel comfortable conversing in the South.
Second, Korean courts have the potential to be overwhelmed, as formerly held residential
and business property is reclaimed from the pre-separation times. Health Care Infrastructure would also be a
severe challenge. The life expectancy in South Korea is currently 10 years more than in the
North, and infant mortality far lower. Bringing the north’s hospitals into the 21st century,
and retraining their doctors would be pricey. Another difference between North and South
Korea is general infrastructure. The North has between 12,000 and 20,000 miles of unpaved,
crumbling roads with few privately owned vehicles. Their train system is ancient compared to
the South’s high speed network. Even the majority of their planes are outdated soviet
aircrafts flying out of dilapidated airports. By far, the largest price tag would come from
balancing economic disparities. South Korean President Park Geun-hye describes the economic
activity associated with unification as a ‘bonanza’,
“Just as the German people secured freedom, prosperity and peace by tearing down the Berlin
Wall, we too must tear down barriers in our march towards a new future on the Korean peninsula,”
she said. but according to the IMF and World Bank, South
Korea is the world’s 13th largest economy with per capita income of over 32,000 us dollars.
Meanwhile, the average north korean might take in about 2,000 us dollars per year, and
many of those are employed in the country’s massive 1.2 million man army. The South’s
economy is 43 times larger than the north and bridging the gap wouldn’t be easy. Overall cost estimates for all this, for total
reunification vary widely, from 50 billion to more than 3 trillion. While the difference between north and south
korea continues to grow, relations between the us and another one of our cold war adversaries
has thawed. Click here to see a comprehensive history of that relationship. And subscribe
to political junkie news for a deeper understanding of the news and of history.

Maurice Vega

68 Responses

  1. Correct me if I am wrong: Wouldn't other countries aid South Korea if North Korea would fall? I'm sure other countries would be concerned about the unsecured nuclear weapons, amongst other things.

  2. Why North And South Korea Split: https://youtu.be/l0E9Kel8BtE
    What If North And South Korea Went To War?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S40j-Ve38G8
    Two videos to click if this topic interests you.

  3. +Raul Valles That's very kind if you to say, and definitely gets me motivated to write some content this evening. There's still lots of improvements to be made. I'll definitely keep at it.

  4. What's going on in North Korea is without doubt one of the least talked about issues at the moment. When you dig into everything happening there you'd think it's something from an Orwell novel.

  5. Anything about Korea and I get extremely interested. I had no idea about the language difference. That is amazing. Oh, and did you get my email?

  6. I had no idea about the language difference. That is very interesting. Really good video. Thanks for doing all the work to educate us!

  7. is it at all probable that north kore could democratise independently and just be a free separate nation with improved ties to the south but no unity?

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I would be the happiest person on Earth if North and South Korea would reunite one day

  9. to call yourself a political junkie… you really have no clue about anythang..

    look dude.. i know you are an american and no one with intelligence should take you seriously.. but i know right wing gumballs would truly love you

    you need to educate yourself about korea and why north korea is in the condition that is in…

    you got your lies from your government and it is sad dude..

    very sad..

  10. How have their languages diverged so vastly in 70 years when English people and Americans can understand each other just fine?

  11. The cost estimation is so laughable low.

    3 Trillion as absolute maximum?

    That's what German unification is about to cost soon and that one is far from finally settled.
    But just compare Gemanies 1989 to Koreas 201X-2X!
    East Germany was in a sorry state but after all it was by far the most prosperous nation of the Eastern Block. The Soviets kept calling ze Germans the capitalists of the Warsaw pact. The GDR had roads, power plants, private vehicles, savings, at least halfway enough decent housing, an educational system that was en par with the west (I would say exceeding it in a lot of fields as well) as well as a tradition of some private market left.

    North Korea? Nothing of that.
    The difference between ROK and DPRK is as big as the difference of Japan and the Moon (or something).
    And even thought being rich and productive ROK is nowhere near being as solid and prosperous as the Federal Republic was 1989.

  12. North Korea is dooming itself as a nation by limiting foreign relations and essential trade to break the stagnant and declining economy and population. North Korea will eventually have to open relations and come out of its long period of isolation.
    The whole reason of China's success is its willingness to negotiate trade deals. Singapore has also experienced unparalleled success as a socialist state under its benign leader Lee Kuan Yew.
    There is a common connection between these two countries, they flourished due to trade. It goes to show that if you have a Marxist society you still need to engage with the "capitalist scum" west to survive.

    Also, the whole reason why communist nations rose and fell was their fixation on Stalinism. I can see some form of Leninism surviving in our modern world.

    I see a few options to fix North Korea:
    1. End isolationism and begin global trade in hopes to improve to economy.
    2. Re-open diplomatic ties between South Korea. A cooperation by both can lead to a prosperous economy for the DPRK.
    3. Stop indoctrination of the population and disarm nuclear weapons or at least diminish the arsenal.
    4. Somehow remove Kim from power, his unpredictable behaviour has everyone in the international community worried.
    5. Try a shift toward a more democratic form of government, where you can elect a leader, whether it be in the population or military, start somewhere. Shift toward Leninism rather than that old despot Stalin with his philosophy of terror.
    6. Align yourself with China and Russia, but also Singapore and Indonesia.

  13. 3:47 The funniest/most terrifying thing is that the South Korean president is being impeached for being a political puppet of a crazy cult leader.

  14. I appreciate the video and the information. I have but one observation to make: "reunification" here means "South taking North in", while in total fairness although crazy and unlikely other scenarios should be taken into account or at least mentioned. I think that one scenario is the fall of the North dictatorial regime BUT with the North keeping its identity or acquiring a new one without a unificated Korea. Or it might be annexated to China somehow. Countries and boundaries are not bound to remain the same as our fabricated image of them.

  15. Two years? To learn south korean asa north korean? That's the average time it would take a person studying Japanese to learn fluent japanese if they're a native English-speakers. >.<

  16. well as you guys may know it by now… current south Korean president Park is recognized as a slightly demented and unqualified woman who managed to con the whole country to elect her (her father's charismatic history helped mostly…) so the "bonanza" comment was… yah, a very poor choice of word probably due to her lack of ability to think properly

    + and the recent news told the congress is preparing impeachment but I cant really tell how this shitstorm would turn out eventually

  17. it's not going to be only South Korea fixing North Korea, the USA will also help and the USA has a great history of fixing destroyed countries

    look at Japan and Europe

  18. The Korean guy who lives next door to me – a doctor says it won't happen in his lifetime. He thinks the north will be the last communist country standing.
    Those in the south may emotionally want it on some level. But the north is too far gone to pay the price to absorb them at the risk of seriously diminishing the south's standard of living.

  19. Reunification will certainly be a big strain on Korea, but the US, UN, Japan,… will certainly help them. It would be a be a big coup for the western bloc, as they would have an ally bordering China.

    North and South will never have the same standard of living. Its very similar to the US civil war, where the North was heavily industrialized and the South has never really caught on.

  20. just because something is called "North" and the other is called "South" doesn't mean they need to be reunited.
    Every country is pretty much a split or moved border of another country. Borders are constantly moving in history as various groups want various territories.
    Borders will keep moving in the future because we the people and our demands are constantly shifting

  21. The Democratic differnces: North Korea doesn't exactly have healthy democracy. The people just love Kim Jong Un too much.

  22. Well, it's a good thing most of the civilized world now hates slavery. If it weren't, that's how likely how a large amount of those NK refugees would likely end up "employed". It'd be an easy solution, though, and I'm sure some wouldn't be above it.

  23. So many unknowns with this, but sudden of gradual reunification would see the North remain poorer than the south for generations. We've seen it in Germany too. Munich/Bavaria is still the weathiest part of the country to this day (one of the wealthiest parts of Europe even). The separation in Germany was shorter, and the language differences were fewer. Human nature dispalyed in past instances would suggest that even recognizing regional accents would be reason to show prejudice. If NKorea collasped, then the official position of S.Korea may be to welcome them and reunify. How people behave practically is different, and N.Koreans may permanently be considered a lower class. It could take several generations to overcome that. Hard to see an end to conflict for a long time.

  24. You completely missed the cultural values and mind sets and world views of Koreans. One thing that may shock you apart from stats you stated is many southerners secretly admire the north for being the underdog and that the two governments collude via official channels to keep the status quo and manipulate the stock market, via scare rhetoric which works both ways. Koreans like Japanese have their official work face but in the background have their true personality and can respect and work together. There is just too much corruption in both political spheres where we saw PGH get impeached (hopefully) and obviously KJU acting in his own self interests. Unless a revolution occurs in either country politics will remain the same.

  25. i know it doesnt matter but still at 2:27 "esports in s.korea" photo was taken in Seattle and if i remember correctly there were little to no s.koreans in the tournament. Again it doesnt matter but i just feel like pointing out.

  26. What i wonder is what if South Korea treated North Korea as a territory much like how the US did with its expansion west ward. With the northern areas being brought into the fold after meeting a set of standards?

  27. My solution would include making North Korea into a UN protectorate administered by the UNSC (they'll delegate power of course) and over time hopefully the Republic of Korea gains sovereignty over the territory as they should. However, in reality it will be a mess that may include the PRC creating another puppet state that will either be within the same territory or some portion of North Korea's current land just to keep a buffer. I don't know how long it will take but North Korea will fall somehow and it will the worse humanitarian crisis of this century and probably ever.

  28. "50 millions to 3 billions" — So in reality, that means what… at least 9 billions in actual cost spread over 4 times as long as anticipated?

  29. All the political and economic things put aside … how'd one even attempt to adapt the north and south korean cultures? One is basically the asian America, while the other one has been held hostage for 70 years with the ones suffering the most from stockholm syndrome being rewarded.

  30. Why does no one mention this? South Korea is capitalist and North Korea is socialist. That is what has ruined North Korea's economy and made the South so incredibly prosperous.

  31. But what would happen if it were the other way around? What would happen if the South collapsed or if North Korea somehow captured South Korea?
    Second: what would happen if South Korea and North Korea unified gradually? That doesn't seem so unlikely

  32. Wow man!!! Frikn BRAVO!!! I've been a huge fan on the secrecy and the plain craziness of North Korea and I've watched many YouTube videos on the subject. But you sir have given the best detail, sensible, and a modern economic cost of the unification and how great that cost will be. In my which means nothing like what you just explain I think the unification dream is really over with. And frankly I'm really shocked that the South would even still mention The desire for unification! Because 100% of the cost would be on them! I've never thought about the health care situation until you explained it! Just living in the north will bring severe health issues to a person and if they join the two countries are going to have A staggering amount of people who need basic care!! It's very sad but I wonder if the south could even handle half of that!!

  33. Been watching a bunch of your videos! awesome stuff, easy to understand and I've learning so much!!!! please continue to upload 🙂

  34. You forgot to mention the border situation as well. China hasn't been all that crazy over the thought of South Koreans being near their border in the event reunification were to happen. It'd probably be more realistic for China to annex North Korea at this point to be honest.

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