Sunday, July 13, 2014

Unification of the Korean Peninsula

During the last 20 years, a columnist in the Catholic Times who writes on North Korean issues, a researcher on the subject, introduces us to the two questions that are most frequent. "When will we have unification? This was the number-one question regardless of age, gender or position in society.

When he receives this question he returns: When do you want unification? It is not something that will just happen. Division is something we lived with, for a change we have to be the subjects and  need to work for change. Unification will be a product of our work, bringing great changes to  Korea.

The second question is: What will be greater the cost or the benefits of unification? This is also a foolish question. Expenses are for a limited time, and  the benefits of unification will go on for ages.

Don't these two questions show that we have become accustomed to the division of the country and evidence that we have little feeling for unification? With the improvement of our financial situation,  we are more interested in what happens on the New York Stock Exchange than unification and more sensitive to what happens in the money markets of the world, then the nuclear testing in North Korea. The passage of time, he laments, has made us forget that we are one country.

We forget that because of the division of the country, there are numerous  abnormalities in our daily lives. Two million  of our young people are facing each other daily with the muzzles of their guns. Korea is a peninsular but the only way we can leave the country is by boat or airplane. Our products by boat have to go a long way around to go to Europe or South Africa. With the united country, we could move our goods by train and truck. At present, there  is no easy way for us to go to Europe.

Life in the North continues under three generations of totalitarian rulers. Hunger and crises are common. Living with a loss of human rights and in a security state, makes their life one of fatigue: the product of our division. The trust on armaments continues the totalitarian hold on the North Koreans by the government.

Becoming one country is not  a choice but a duty that we have to  undertake. Many of the tragedies on the military zone separating the North and South have been the results of our division.Our young people again should be able to take a train to Paektu mountain, go to Mongolia and the plains of Siberia, by means of the  peninsula to which we belong. What is necessary on our part, concludes the columnist, is the will and effort. We are not passive spectators but need to be  active participants working for unification.

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