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The fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 years on: Reflection from a divided Korea Bernhard Seliger Updated: 2019-11-08 04:49:57 KST

On the evening of November 9th, 1989, Berliners from the east poured through the wall that had divided them from West Germans for 28 years.
Within a year, the two Germanies had unified, and the cold war in Europe had ended peacefully.
Thirty years later, what kind of lessons can a divided nation like Korea learn from the German experience of 1989 and 1990?
We have a special guest in the studio this morning.
Dr. Bernhard Seliger, resident representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Seoul.
Headquartered in Munich, the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation is one of six non-profit political organizations in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Dr. Seliger, welcome to the program.

You, yourself, have lived in both a divided Germany and a reunified Germany. You lived through the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
Tell us, where were you doing what at the time of the fall of the wall? What did it mean for you?

30 years later, how do the German public feel about the incident? Looking back, was reunification a good thing for people of both East and West Germany or is there still a gap that needs to be narrowed?

As a resident representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, you work on various projects related to North Korea. You are a frequent visitor to North Korea.
Can you compare and contrast the North Korea that you've experienced in recent years to East Germany in years leading up to 1989?

Germany peacefully ended its decades-long division in late 1989 and early 1990. But, I've been told by many experts in field to avoid making direct historial analogies between the German case and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Because one, East and West Germany never had a bloody conflict like the one between the two Koreas in the early 1950s and two, East Germany never posed a threat to its neighbors in the way North Korea has been for the last few decades.
What can the two Koreas learn from the German reunification experience?

Would neighboring countries like China and Japan, and parties with interest such as the U.S. and Russia also play a significant role in Korea's reunification when you review the historical experience of Germany? What advice would you have for U.S. or South Korean diplomats addressing North Korea issues?

Bernhard Seliger, resident representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Many thanks for sharing your stories and insights with us this morning. We appreciate it.
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