Seventy years ago, at the end of the Second World War, Germany and the Korean Peninsula were divided. Yet, while the former has now been reunited for twenty five years, Korean reunification remains a distant prospect. Under what conditions could, then, unification happen? What steps are being taken right now to prepare for this possibility? And what lessons can we draw from the German experience of reunification? In order to answer these questions, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Bernhard Seliger.
Dr. Seliger is since 2002 the resident representative in Seoul of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, which is associated with the German conservative party CSU. He is Associate Editor of the North Korean Review and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Korean Journal of Unification Affairs. He was also a Guest Professor at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public Administration from 2004 to 2007. Dr. Seliger received his PhD from the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel. His doctoral dissertation was awarded the First Prize of the Wolfgang-Ritter Foundation.
In Korea, every single contact between North and South is decided on the highest political level in both states […] That is something which is a stark difference to the German case, where we had […] a growing area of policies which was depoliticized […] Even when the political situation was very tense, like in the early 1980s, that never put into question economic cooperation.
The interview was conducted on April 16th in Seoul.