Thursday, December 26, 2013

Interview with Professor Noh Yang-Kyu, Former Korean General

Clipboard03 We had an interview with professor Noh on May 10, 2013. Noh Yang-Kyu is at Woosong and in the process of writing about North Korea. He is a security expert, and he graduated from Korea Military Academy in 1977 and then served for 36 years. Now he is teaching security studies and leadership at Woosong.

Woosong Herald: What is changing in the relationship between North Korea and South Korea?

Professor Noh Yang-Kyu: “When administrations change, they offer different policies. At the time of President Kim De-Jung, he implemented policies that helped North Korea. But Lee Myung-Park’s policies were different and didn’t help North Korea. Now the policy has changed again. President Park Geun-Hye thinks that if North Korea abandons their nuclear project and the study of missile technology, we can help them to grow. We want to talk instead fighting a war. This is how the policy has changed.”

WH: What do you think about Park Geun-Hye’s policy towards North Korea?

Noh: “Before we talk about that, people who live in their own country would like to believe in their president’s philosophy. South Korea and North Korea have a very special relationship. They have hurt each other and that has not been remedied. When the Korean War broke out, South Korea was far weaker than North Korea. But recently this has changed. South Korea is ranked 7th largest military in the world. So we would have a great military power during a war and we should try to be more peaceful with North Korea. South Korea is not immune to nuclear war. So I think Park Geun-Hye’s policy is good.”

Clipboard04 WH: Can you tell me what do you think about nuclear missiles in North Korea? In this interviewer’s opinion, if North Korea has nuclear missiles and we are reunited, we will gain nuclear missile technology, and that would be a good thing.

Noh: “Well, that is very dangerous opinion because if nuclear missiles are given to us, many other countries will oppose us and we will be isolated in the world. So our economy will decline and life will get harder. And if we get nuclear missiles, we have to be aware of the consequences. Also, nearby countries like China and Japan will say that they also have the right to make nuclear missiles and maybe we have the next World War on our hands. So your opinion is very dangerous.”

WH: What do you think about the South Korea/US alliance?

Noh: “After the Korean War, America had South Korea’s wartime operational control. The alliance between the two militaries is strong for now, these days South Korea is stronger than in the past, so the alliance is stronger. If the alliance between South Korea and America is strong, Korea will remain safe and American investors will want to invest in Korea. That will make Korea continue to grow. So I think the alliance is important.”

WH: What do you think about North Korea’s hard-line policy?

Noh: “In history, many communist countries think the most important thing is to maintain their government. Also, North Korea wants to maintain the Kim government. But Kim Jeongeun, the leader of North Korea, is very young and has little or no experience, thus people don’t trust him. So he takes a hard-line policy, because he wants to maintain his government.”

Clipboard05 WH: So why don’t they choose another policy?

Noh: “North Korea is afraid of opening up its broadcasting system because if they let citizens use the broadcasting system, then maybe the citizens will start a revolution against the government. So they allow citizens to be nervous about war, so they can to block any attempts at a revolution.”

WH: What do you think about relationship between the two Koreas in the future?

Noh: “Recently China has changed their opinion about North Korea. In China, some banks refuse to work with North Korea. That means China will not help North Korea. North Korea relies heavily on China, with aid levels at about 90%. So they cannot continue to have a hard-line policy without China. In the future they will want to have a conversation with us.”

WH: How do we do to reunite Korea?

Noh: “Some young people don’t want to reunite because they are worried about the damage to South Korea if we become reunited. But North and South Korea are one country and one ethnic group, one race. So the government needs to try and change their people’s minds and explain what they are doing. They should hold an open forum to discuss uniting the two Koreas.”

WH: What do students think about North Korea’s attitude?

Noh: “At Woosong University, I want many students to share their thoughts about security. Of course, they are very busy, between jobs and studying, but I hope that they are interested in Korean’s security.”


Staff writers Min Jihong and Cho Wonha.


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