Why do we need to help North Korea? In the column on Unification and Reconciliation of the Catholic Times the writer gives us his reasons which sadly are not easily accepted by the South Koreans. Why help when they are not acting in harmony with the rest of the world community? If our desire for unification and reconciliation is more than a romantic dream we have to face this difficulty.
The issue is a complicated one, entangled in politics, a controversial topic. Recently North Korea tested a ballistic missile that could reach the United States. Whether that is a fact or not is not important, they are threatening. This is of course upsetting South Korea, the Untied States and the rest of the world. This can't be denied.
Coming this far we have another question. Why help the North to become independent and better their quality of life? In a word from the Chinese we find an answer in the 'livelihood of the people'. Punishment is important but not hurting the people is also important. The UN Security Council also makes clear that no matter the primacy of punishment, in certain cases, relationships with the North, trade and needs of the people are allowed. Using diplomatic language, we need to distinguish between the North Korean government and the North Korean people.
For Catholics what words can we use to bring about understanding? He quotes from a priest who was the head of a committee for the reconciliation of the nation. "Government oppression of the North makes life of the citizens all the more difficult. To ignore North Korean people is not right for us as Catholics. The first responsibility is that of the government, but it's not easy to say this. When the conditions are of this type we need to calmly go on helping the Korean people. Helping them to make a better choice."
We need to love the Korean people more than we hate the Korean government is what the writer understands the priest to be saying.
"Our attention should me on the North Korean people who want to live a normal life. When the Church meets up against ideology, philosophy, politics, we should not forget the people and the life they want to live. We need to begin with the thought they are one with us in God. This is the way our society will change and and our hearts will change. This is not easy but we need to begin."