Friday, December 4, 2015

North And South Korean Unification

Numbers leaving the North for South Korea continue to decrease. This year, according to an article in the Catholic Times, up until October, 978 escaped to the  South, which would be about 98 a month: first year the numbers have dropped to under a hundred.

Many are the reasons for the drop, but in first place is the strengthening of the borders between China and North Korea under Kim Jong-un. Once the route for leaving  the north is closed, natural to see a drop in the numbers. Expenses are now higher since the dangers are greater than the past: "High Risk, High Return." Although they have a strong aversion to the principles of capitalism, they still are experienced in their use. It was only a few who could  take the  freedom train for the South.

Living conditions in the North have improved so that many don't feel the need to risk their lives in leaving. Citizens are permitted to use personal funds in the market which  has made the market a different reality. They are able to take care of their needs for food and shelter; living is no longer what it was.

In third place is the difficulty in adapting to life in the South. Coldness which the refugees feel and the  financial difficulties they experience, becomes big news in the North. It is well known that  those who fail to make Korea home, try to get refugee status to go to Europe.

When the numbers decrease not because of the better living conditions in the North but because of the treatment in the South and opting for a third country should make us think.

Refugee response to life in the South comes to us  by the media in many different ways. When we have a scuffle with the police, leaflets are distributed; we have the women with heavy makeup and short skirts bringing up in conversations the strange things that happen in the North which adds to the distance and curiosity towards the North, and a 'we against them' scenario.

If we want unification, says the columnist,  should we not emphasis what we have in common instead of  what divides, to embrace instead of shun. Are we as citizens and government doing what we can to include them and co-exist with them using our resources to facilitate the relationship? He doesn't feel there are many who appreciate the question. 

We have 28,000 from the North living in the South. If we can't  accommodate them in our society, and we talk about unification, he feels this is hypocrisy, and to consider unification a desired goal and continue acting in this way are we justified, he concludes, in speaking about unification?

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