Publisher’s Insight On The Korean Peninsula
EDITOR’S NOTE: Times Publisher
John Derby knows firsthand about North and South Korea —
and their people, land and history. Derby lived in South
Korea as a journalist for almost two years in 1960 and 1961.
His job was to cover the military news from Seoul to North
Korea during the “Conflict.” Last year, he returned
after decades to see what changes had taken place.
By JOHN M. DERBY
June 14, 2018
The people of South Korea have achieved
amazing results in the past 57 years. There is a tendency
to lump Koreans with all Asians, however, they have a different
They are a gentle people, who have been
dominated by the Japanese and the Chinese. The split of
their country was only possible with the help of the Chinese
Many of the people would like to see the
country reunited, as many South Koreans have family in North
Korea and vice versa. North Korea is only divided from South
Korea due to dictators who use force to maintain their control
of the north.
Almost half the people in North Korea have
some connection with the government. For a small country,
the military is the major employer and also the major benefactor.
Most people live in poverty, and fear losing what little
The latest efforts to bring the two countries
back together has much support, however, South Koreans are
aware of the problems in the north, and are leery of what
will happen once the two countries are joined.
South Korea is not totally without corruption
and past presidents have been accused of using their office
to benefit themselves. South Koreans are well educated and
have much freedom of thought and action. They have used
that freedom to take action against the government many
This action is often lead by the students.
South Korea does not trust North Korea
and with good reason because North Korea has attempted to
invade South Korea many times even since the main war was
over. The Demilitarized Zone has been riddled with tunnels
— one of which was large enough to allow 40,000 men
to cross into South Korea in one day along with equipment
North Korea continues to be aggressive
toward South Korea, and the recent use of missiles is just
the latest case. The country’s aggressiveness has
also been directed at the United States.
In the past, the United States has offered
deals to North Korea if it behaved itself, and that may
have led to their thought that by threatening other countries
they could get what they want.
This time, Trump has said in effect “no
It may have been what has brought Kim Jong
Un to the negotiation table. However, no one is fooling
the other. Trump knows the history of North Korea and the
way it has negotiated in the past, only to threaten again.
The situation in North Korean has become
more desperate now. The United Nations has approved sanctions
which cut off some of Korea’s ability to trade.
United States has shown that countries
like China have allowed under the table trade with Korea
and pressure has been put on China to stop allowing it.
The Chinese are a key player in the negotiations.
North Korea has very little resources of
its own so without trade, it is in a very poor economic
As President Trump goes to the negotiation
table with Kim Jong Un, there may be some deals which he
One is to offer to reduce the U.S. military
presence now in South Korea. We don’t need all the
men and women there to protect South Korea, and if Kim Jong
Un is willing to stop all production and use of nuclear
weapons then that is something we could offer in return.
There are also the economic sanctions which
have been imposed by the United Nations. While Trump does
not have the power to speak for other countries, he could
persuade them to drop some or all of the trade sanctions
if North Korea agrees to shut down all nuclear weapons production