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8 Things Raila should know about Korean unification

Cord leader Raila Odinga has called for the unification of South and North Korea because “it will will give them a stronger voice and presence” in international politics.

“By championing unification of the Koreas and building a global coalition in this direction, Korea will be making active contributions to international peace and stability,” Raila told the gathering at the Global Forum in Seoul on the role of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in sustainable development.

As Raila goes about fronting for the unification of the two Koreas, here are a few facts he needs to know about the two Asian countries:

1. War – The two countries are still at war. The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of World War II and from the global tensions of the Cold War that developed immediately afterwards.

After the Korean war ended in 1953, both the South and North signed the armistice agreement leading to the creation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone to separate North and South Korea and the return of prisoners. However, hostilities between the two nations have continued to date.

2. Economy – North Korea is a small, impoverished and isolated country while on the other side wealthy South Korea has a thriving economy backed by the United States. South Korea’s GDP is estimated at $ 1.7 trillion, while that of the North stands at $ 40 billion.

3. Allies – South Korea’s closest ally is the United States while North Korea has the backing of China and Russia.

4. Population – North Korea has an estimated population of 25 million people (2013) while South Korea’s population stands at 50 million people.

5. Military might – North Koreans males who are fit serve in the military between the ages of 16 to 49 for a combined military force of 5 million soldiers at any given time compared to South Korea’s 11 million.

6. Military expenditure – North Korea spends roughly 23% of its GDP in military while South only spends 3%.

7. Area – North Korea is almost twice the size of South Korea.

8. Democracy – While South Korea have a democratically elected president, North Korean presidency is inherited. The North has been ruled by one family since the end of the war, while in the South a president serves only one term of five years