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China backs 'one country, two systems' in Korean unification effort

All Headlines 11:41 January 22, 2013

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- China wants South Korea to form a loose-knit federation of "one country, two systems" with North Korea for an eventual unification between the two Koreas, a prominent Chinese expert said Tuesday.

Pan Zhenqiang, a retired People's Liberation Army major general, warned that any unification effort based on the collapse of North Korea would bring "greater disastrous effects" than the deteriorating security situations that have taken place in Libya and Syria.

The two Koreas have still technically been at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a cease-fire. Though reunification with North Korea is not an immediate concern, President Lee Myung-bak has voiced the need to prepare for the possibility.

"With regards to the format of unification, China's formula of 'one country, two systems' may have some exemplary value," said Pan, now senior adviser to the Council of China Reform Forum.

The loose-knit federation model is a "correct direction" and then the two Koreas should be "gradually developing into a full-fletched unified nation," Pan told a forum in Seoul organized by the Asian Institute for Policy Studies.

Pan also expressed "great skepticism" over any long-term policy planning based on the collapse of the North Korean regime.

"It is not only because it runs counter to China's unification philosophy, but also because the design runs a risk of being built on wishful thinking," Pan said.

North Korea's young new leader Kim Jong-un appears to have consolidated his grip on power since the death of his father Kim Jong-il in December 2011, and analysts see no clear sign of instability in Pyongyang. Still, questions remain about the long-term viability of poverty-stricken North Korea.

Pan indicated that China would eventually try to prevent South Korea from absorbing North Korea.

"There are people who are too enthusiastic to see the regime collapse in the North," he said. "This planning would most probably serve to enhance the temptation for them to take drastic actions to fulfill their dreams."

Citing worsening security situations in Libya and Syria, Pan warned, "A Korea case could bring even greater disastrous effects that no one hopes to see in the end.
"We had better not embark on that dangerous path." Pan said.


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