T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue X

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

February 2003

I N S I D E


 

Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Comment     

Balraj Puri

 

Column     

Sunita Vakil                          

View Point      

Romeet K WATT

 

On Track     

Romeet K Watt 

                  

Opinion

Sushil Vakil

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Romeet K WATT

 

Perspective

T R Jawahar

 

Last Word

Sunita Vakil 

 

                            


 

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C o p y r i g h t 

A N A L Y S I S

Korean peninsula and the West

Sawraj Singh


Several years ago, I presented a paper, “Asia’s Century.” I predicted that Asia was going to become the leading region in the 21st century; China was going to become the largest economy; and Korea is going to reunite and emerge as a very powerful country. Seven out of the ten largest economies of the world will be in Asia. Later on, I found out that many other people felt the same way. I had a chance to read Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of a New World Order and was amazed at some of the similarities.

 

My predictions seem to be coming true even sooner than I expected. When I discussed my paper in Seattle, WA, I gave an approximate date of 2013 for the radical change. America, the largest economy at that time, could move to the sixth place. China, the European Union, and the Alliance of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—if joined by Australia—were likely to overtake America.

 

Then there were two other possible economies that I saw had the potential to overtake America’s economy; the first of these, the Indian subcontinent . I know people will be shocked or in disbelief. How could an impoverished subcontinent overtake the American economy? But I still insist that if (and this is a big if) the Indian subcontinent transforms itself into the “South Asian Economic Alliance,” then I believe that it can overtake the American economy and also become the third largest economy of the world. The other economy that has the potential to overtake the American economy is that of the Spanish-speaking countries. For all practical purposes, I include Brazil in this community even though its language is Portuguese. I still consider them “Latinos” or “Hispanics.”

 

Whatever happens elsewhere, there is no if about Korea’s future. Korea has already becomes a great leader in the world. South Korea has become a formidable industrial and economic power. Just recently, it impressed everyone with the Busan Asian Olympics. Besides the decor and glamour, it surprised the whole world by its medal tally; it beat Japan and took second place, coming close to China.

 

Whereas South Korea has become an economic giant, North Korea has become a formidable military force. About twenty-five million people support a disciplined and strong army of about 1 million—one of the largest in the world. India, with a population of more than one billion, has about the same-sized army. North Korea exports sophisticated weaponry to many countries of the world.

 

Many people were surprised by President Bush’s stand on North Korea, even accusing him of following double standards in dealing with Iraq and North Korea. Iraq has declared several times that it has no weapons of mass destruction. It has given unlimited access to the United Nations’ inspectors to verify its claims. North Korea, on the other hand, has >asserted that it is developing nuclear weapons and intends to use them. It has also kicked out the UN inspectors.

 

In spite of these actions by North Korea, President bush urges caution, a diplomatic solution and an intention of working with the global community to resolve this crisis. No such attitude has been shown towards Iraq.

 

One may ask, “Why a different attitude towards North Korea?” The reasons are not too hard to find. There is a Punjabi expression, “You get burnt once then you become very careful next time.” Memories of the Korean War remind us of the 54,000 Americans killed; the career and presidential aspirations of General MacArthur vanishing; and the victory march in Beijing with Mao Tse-Tung receiving the salute of one million Chinese soldiers who marched in the parade. That was 50 years ago. China is much more powerful now and at least there is no doubt in my mind that if there is an American attack on North Korea, China will come to their help. I do not feel that America can easily take such a risk.

 

Some of us who saw the American TV documentary film Pueblo remember that the main emphasis of the film was to show the torture of the American crew. Recently, the new James Bond movie Die Another Day again tried to show extreme torture of James Bond by the North Koreans—who objected to being portrayed as barbarians. An interesting thing happened. The South Koreans also objected to the movie. The movie has been stopped in theatres throughout Seoul. There is a growing trend among South Koreans to see Korea as one nation and one people. The recently held presidential election was won on this issue. Important South Korean leaders have warned America not to take for granted that they will side with it against North Korea. The growing anti-American feeling in South Korea has been noticed by many American journalists, particularly after two American soldiers were freed by a military court. They were charged in the death of two Korean girls who were run over by their vehicle. Very large anti-American demonstrations were held after their release.

 

While writing this article, I am sitting in the Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea. We are on our way to Delhi. We started our journey in Seattle and then went to L.A. Both Seattle and L.A. are reasonably good airports. But you have to really see the Incheon Airport before you can fully appreciate the feeling I am trying to explain. I have seen very good Asian airports including Narita (Tokyo), Singapore, Bangkok , Hong Kong, and Taipei. Just by looking at these airports and comparing them to the American and European airports, one cannot help noticing that the old western-dominated world is changing and Asia is rising.

 

Another thing I could not help noticing was the number of flights from Seoul to Chinese cities. Practically every major Chinese city is connected to Seoul. This shows the growing economic relations between the two countries. While waiting to get a plane to Delhi, I noticed a large group of very healthy looking and disciplined students boarding a flight to Beijing. I should have known they were Chinese because they were all wearing red caps. Is East still red?!  

  • Author is Chairman of Washington State Network for Human Rights, and Chairman of Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice

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