[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Reunification stepA significant change in South Korea’s policy on North Korean defectors is expected because a group of 460 refugees arrived here recently. And yet, Seoul’s silent diplomacy on receiving the defectors will likely continue. North Korea does not recognize the issue; it sees the defectors as a part of a hostile policy against the North. China and the Southeast Asian nations where defectors are living have diplomatic ties with the North.
If Seoul shifts its policy too quickly, it will worsen inter-Korean relations. The current situation requires silence.
Seoul’s urgent task is supporting the defectors after their arrival. The government facilities have already been flooded. The private sector must help with jobs.
The wave of North Korean defectors is the beginning of unification. They are no longer escaping to survive. Defectors here must settle in smoothly; we need a more active policy.
by Kim Keun-sik