Rick Perry: Hey, Let’s Reunify Korea!

Rick Perry appears to be the first Presidential candidate to comment on the death of Kim Jong-il, and it would appear he didn’t give it much thought:

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today released the following statement regarding the death of Kim Jong II:

“The death of vicious dictator Kim Jong Il provides some cause for hope but does not automatically end the reign of inhumane tyranny he and his father constructed. Twenty-three million people still live under North Korea’s isolationist, inhumane and tyranical policies. North Korea remains a nuclear power, and there is a great threat that those weapons might fall into the wrong hands if civil war breaks out.

“At the same time, Jong’s death is an opportunity to reunify the peninsula if the situation is handled effectively. Kim Jong-un is an unknown quantity, and may not be able to maintain power. The United States must now strongly reaffirm our commitment to Asian allies, particularly South Korea, and maintain a strong military, diplomatic, and economic presence in the Pacific region during this period. We should also engage with China, and encourage Beijing to work towards a peaceful transition from a grim dictatorship to a free Korea.”

As much as the end of the Kim dictatorship is something we can all agree on, the idea of Korean unification is so far down the road, and such a reckless idea to suggest at this point in time, that it’s barely worth discussing. Korean reunification would make German reunification seem like a cakewalk, and that took at least ten years to balance itself out. Suffice it to say it’s not really on South Korea’s radar at the moment. Not to mention the fact that the Chinese are going to have something to say about this.

Via Jazz Shaw on Twitter

FILED UNDER: Asia, Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    We should probably check first and see whether South Korea wants to be re-unified. Just to be polite.

  2. David says:

    Michael, you should know better by now, the only opinion that counts is the true patriot American opinion.

  3. It would make a great action movie.

    (I assume that would be Rick and Chuck Norris, of course.)

  4. Habbit says:

    Further proving that none of you know anything about what you’re talking about, the Republic of Korea has been pushing for reunification with the Democratic People’s Republic for quite a while now.

    But excuse me for interrupting your cheap shot against a Republican… partisan fools.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    To prove he is a moron Perry also referred to Kim Jong Il as Kim Jong the second.

  6. David says:

    Habbit, trying to use Korean unification as a campaign sound bite is ridiculous. It’s a complex situation that would more likely be harmed by interjecting American politics. Perry is just demonstrating why he is not up to the job of being President.

  7. @Habbit:

    Preparing for an eventuality and calling it for it happen any time in the immediate future are two different things. Besides, as I said, this is really all up to China.

  8. Brett says:

    It really is. If North Korea ever shows signs of falling apart, I suspect the Chinese military will be the first into the country. They’d try and set up a stable puppet regime, simply because they have so much to lose from North Korea imploding (refugees across their common border, a unified state allied with the US on their border, etc).

  9. Habbit says:

    @David:

    As opposed to overthrowing North African and Middle Eastern dictators only for them to replaced by… another dictator. Here’s the difference between you and me; before his entrance in the nomination campaign I thought for a moment Rick Perry would make a fairly decent president… and I can admit I was mistaken. It’s now time for some of you to acknowledge your hypocrisy regarding President Obama’s moronic foreign policies.

    The death of vicious dictator Kim Jong Il provides some cause for hope but does not automatically end the reign of inhumane tyranny he and his father constructed. <– True.
    Twenty-three million people still live under North Korea’s isolationist, inhumane and tyranical policies. <– Also true.
    North Korea remains a nuclear power, and there is a great threat that those weapons might fall into the wrong hands if civil war breaks out. <– This is a legitimate possibility.
    At the same time, Jong’s death is an opportunity to reunify the peninsula if the situation is handled effectively. <– The Koreans never wanted to separate in the first place, I see nothing wrong with this statement.
    Kim Jong-un is an unknown quantity, and may not be able to maintain power. <– Another legitimate scenario.
    The United States must now strongly reaffirm our commitment to Asian allies, particularly South Korea, and maintain a strong military, diplomatic, and economic presence in the Pacific region during this period. <– I don't necessarily agree with maintaining a military presence around the world, but other than that, what's wrong with reassuring our allies?
    We should also engage with China, and encourage Beijing to work towards a peaceful transition from a grim dictatorship to a free Korea. <– How dare this Perry dude suggest co-operation with the second largest economy in the world and the strongest state in the Asia-Pacific region… he surely is not "up to the job" of being president. -_______-

    Of all the humorous things Rick Perry has said or done, this is not one of them… What is funny in this situation is the immediate and thoughtless reaction to anything he says, even if it turns out there really is nothing wrong with the comments.

    The death of America will be this Democrat versus Republican sideshow distraction.

  10. Habbit says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    To say the death of the Supreme Leader facilitates the plans for reunification of the two countries is an understatement: he needed to die for plans to move forward.

    And China has everything to gain from a stable and united Korea.

  11. mattb says:

    @Habbit:

    And China has everything to gain from a stable and united Korea.

    No offense, but care to explain this? Granted, I am sure that China would like to have a stable North Korea (without the constant refuge threat). But I don’t think that a united, Korean-Stule Democracy directly bordering them would be a preferred situation.

    I would expect that a controllable, puppet dictatorship ruling North Korea would actually be the preferred position.

  12. Franklin says:

    @Habbit: We need a line-by-line critique? Okay, let’s skip to this:

    “At the same time, Jong’s death is an opportunity to reunify the peninsula if the situation is handled effectively.”

    An opportunity for whom? Should the POTUS just say, “hey guys, this seems like a good break point … let’s reunify you two now.” And with a wave of his magic wand, the deed is done. Sorry, but there’s no plan or hint of a plan, it’s just an off-the-cuff remark by Perry and/or his speech writers with no underlying meaning. As Doug said, it shows no apparent thought process at all.

    Or how about this gem?

    “The United States must now strongly reaffirm our commitment to Asian allies, particularly South Korea, and maintain a strong military, diplomatic, and economic presence in the Pacific region during this period. We should also engage with China, …”

    This stuff is mind-numbingly obvious. Which part are we not currently doing? Please be specific. Perhaps the Obama Administration was going to cut off all diplomatic ties to Asian countries, but he thought better of it after Perry put out this statement.

    … and encourage Beijing to work towards a peaceful transition from a grim dictatorship to a free Korea.

    Again, magic wand time. 23 million starving people and a huge army under the command of a totally unknown quantity. But, with Perry, problem solved! Beijing just needs a little encouragement, that’s all!

  13. Tano says:

    More from our latest Texas genius:

    there is a great threat that those weapons might fall into the wrong hands if civil war breaks out

    Oh, like they are in the right hands now????

  14. David says:

    Habbit, the article was regarding Rick Perry’s comment. That’s what my response was to. I do not have the time at the moment to go over the entirety of President Obama’s statements regarding the Koreas or North Africa. While it is a tad slow at work today, it’s not that slow.

  15. Gregory says:

    North Korea and South Korea with all of their issues have considered reunification with open discussion. Korea is still one nation. Their biggest issue with reunification is China. China doesnt want the US or any other nation near its borders after the horrible blood bath its people were subjected to during WWII.

    It is why they supported North Korea during the Korean War. China doesnt want others near its borders. Can you imagine if Iran placed a naval fleet in Cuba? Why exactly are we still at war in Korea? We only have interest in other countries when we need spy operations and plan to occupy.

    Recently, free trade agreements were passed by Congress so companies use this to funnel North Korean slave labor goods across the border into South Korea to get free trade items into our country and American goods into South Korea. It is exactly what the Chinese are doing with honey and several other products when we impose embargoes.

    Our politicians are making us rely on these unstable nations in a claim that “globalization” is important for us to compete when really it is our biggest failing as a nation as millions of American dollars are shipped overseas. While unification for Korea would be great for them, I wonder if that would nullify our free trade agreements and how that would impact our relationship with China.

  16. @Gregory:

    Are you sure modern China can’t find a profit motive?

    (Phone being stubborn, sorry)

  17. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s funny (ironic?) about this blog entry is that not only have the two Koreas themselves been talking through back channels about reunification a few years ago Little Kim surprised the now-former South Korean president by meeting him at the airport in connection with the latter’s diplomatic mission. Then the two leaders actually wound up singing a song together, which I believe translates into “we want reunification now.” You can look it up.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Perry’s statement. It’s a cogent and relevant declaration that simply embodies a common sense perspective about that particular region. For obvious reasons, however, it’ll be lambasted and ridiculed by the usual suspects, on the Internet, on talk radio, in the mass media, and on college and university campuses. C’est la vie.

  18. Dan says:

    Well at lease we can all agree that China is a force for democracy and has acted to end dictatorships whenever possible right?

    They’re just waiting to be engaged.

  19. Habbit says:

    @Franklin:

    No… you need a line-by-line critique.

    Should the POTUS just say, “hey guys, this seems like a good break point … let’s reunify you two now.”

    Except you’re putting words into his mouth. He never gave a time frame, he never said this action needs to be immediate. This is really just an example of your desperation in latching onto any criticism of a Republican candidate, regardless of how ridiculous it is.

    This stuff is mind-numbingly obvious. Which part are we not currently doing?

    Then why are you so critical of it? All I see here is a potential Republican presidential candidate taking a position on one of the most significant events of this year, and you guys knee-jerk reacting to his relatively lax comment.

  20. Habbit says:

    @Gregory:

    Excellent post. I don’t see Korean reunification as beneficial to the United States, and that is the only critical notion I can append to Governor Perry’s comments on the matter.

  21. Habbit says:

    @David:

    So basically, you concede that your initial comment was baseless and lacked an informed opinion on the status quo between the DPRK and the RoK?

  22. doubter4444 says:

    @Habbit:
    Trying to figure what, if anything, that comment and those points have anything to with:

    It’s now time for some of you to acknowledge your hypocrisy regarding President Obama’s moronic foreign policies.

    What’s with you guys?
    There was nothing in this about Obama, or his policy vis a vis NK.
    Just a gratuitous bash?
    That’s why people thing you baggers suck, or to paraphrase Biden
    All you have in a noun, a verb and Obama sucks.

  23. Habbit says:

    @mattb:

    From the Korea perspective: Koreans identify more with the Chinese than they do Americans, and their loyalty to us is only held together because… dun, dun, dun… we buy a lot of their stuff.

    As the Western nations continue to push themselves towards the cliff of irrelevance, the People’s Republic of China walks the opposite direction in two ways: first, they obviously are making themselves more and more relevant and second, and most important, for the most part, the little countries… the poor countries… the Third World countries… the Middle Eastern countries… the African countries… LIKE the PRC.

    Why?

    Because the Chinese invest in the infrastructure of nations that they withdraw resources from… and without stipulations that say “____ you” to the cultures of those particular countries. Sure many Southeast Asian nations have their historical issues with the former Red Giant, but I guarantee that the continued rise of a fellow Asian nation, coinciding with the decline of the Western nations, will quickly alter those resentful minds.

    Who ever wants to be last to the table?

    From the Chinese perspective, the Republic of Korea maintains the third largest economy (which happens to be growing quite nicely as well) in Southeast Asia… but its government is still in the pocket of the United States, although not necessarily by choice. Put simply, a stronger Korea backed by an already strong China benefits the region as a whole because it lessens the influence and control of the United States in the area.

    To add to that: the Japanese as a nation grow tired of us the longer our military occupies parts of their land and the Japanese government has publicly sought stronger ties with the PRC over the past few years. Everything technologically important in our (American) daily lives was either made in China, the Republic of Korea, or Japan… To the PRC, what could be better than that?

  24. Habbit says:

    @doubter4444:

    I’ll go along with your low-level of reading comprehension for a bit… my statement was made to point out that while you guys revel in trashing foreign policy comments and positions made by Republicans, you blissfully ignore the irreparable damage that the policies of the administration in actual power have caused to the integrity and respect of the United States of America.

    But when all logic and rationality fails………………… call me a “bagger,” even though I wish to line up Tea Party members alongside liberals like you and get rid of you all. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  25. David says:

    No, I do not concede that, I do maintain that, as you put it, a lax comment by a someone running for president on a very complex and potentially volatile situation demonstrates that Perry is not ready for the presidency.

    I was limiting my comment to what Perry said. I have not had time to compare what he said to whatever the White House has issued regarding the death of the “Dear Leader.” If Doug had included in the post, then I would have addressed it as well, but he didn’t. I limited my comment to the topic and information in the post.

  26. doubter4444 says:

    I have better reading comprehension skills than I do html skills, I’ll give you that.
    But you seriously saying that by not mentioning how terrible this administration is, every time, in every post,everyone is just :

    …. blissfully ignoring the irreparable damage that the policies of the administration in actual power have caused to the integrity and respect of the United States of America.

    I mean come on, really.
    This post had little or nothing to do with the position of the Administration, it had to do with Perry’s statement.
    Agree with it or not, how is the lord’s name is that an indictment of Obama, unless, as I said, every single comment needs to include some bash or another?
    And to actually think that OTB is some lefty blog that treats Obama like “THE ONE”, is just plain silly.

    So, again what is your point?
    That’s it’s not the worst thing in the world to “seize the moment” if that possible?
    And that scorn for Perry saying that is unfair? OK.
    That’s a position to take.
    I just don’t get why you have to then say Obama sucks, too!!11!

    It’s childish and detracts from any point you may have.
    But I’m not the professor here, I’m just noting that you sound like a tool.

    Hey though, it’s a free country (until the Marxist, Kenyan, Socialist in the White House get through with it). See? I can do that too.

    By the way, a couple of examples of the whole” irreparable damage that the policies of the administration in actual power have caused to the integrity and respect of the United States of America.” would not hurt, either. If you can dig some out form anywhere other than WND or where ever.

  27. Habbit says:

    @David:

    I limited my comment to the topic and information in the post.

    I can surely tell because Doug, Michael, Franklin, doubter4444, and you know absolutely nothing about the current (or maybe former now?) state of relations between the DPRK and the RoK.

  28. Habbit says:

    @doubter4444:

    There is nothing wrong with any of the comments in the statement Rick Perry put out regarding the death of Kim Jong-il and potential reunification of the north and the south Koreas.

    The point of bringing up the current administration is that you tools are so quick to react to something not worth reacting to SOLELY because of the name attached to it, even when there is legitimacy to the statement. Give it up.

    If you can dig some out form anywhere other than WND or where ever.

    What is that… and what does it have to do with our bonehead administration supporting extremist Sharia institutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, while also further polarizing the three of the most influential countries in the Middle East (Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan), alienating one of the few stable governments in the region (Israel)… all in an attempt to keep China from gaining a political and economical foothold in parts of the world that hate us because of how we’ve screwed them over.

  29. anjin-san says:

    There is nothing wrong with any of the comments in the statement Rick Perry put out regarding the death of Kim Jong-il and potential reunification of the north and the south Koreas.

    Well, except that it might not be a good idea to pressure a highly unstable country with nuclear weapons to go in a direction that we may like, but they might not like at all.

    Instability, a paranoid elite in NK, nuclear weapons… what could possibly go wrong?

  30. Habbit says:

    @anjin-san:

    There is no “pressure”… re-read comments from Gregory, Tsar Nicholas, and me.