[Letters] Some reflections on South-North unification

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[Letters] Some reflections on South-North unification

I always thought that the national wish was the reunification of the South and the North. But when I had an instant survey on my students during a lecture, I learned that a considerable number of students actually do not want reunification. Their reluctance came as a shock to me.

In fact, opinion polls show that a considerable (and growing) number of young Koreans oppose reunification. Reunification with the group that frequently provokes the country with violent means may be a distant wish. However, if you think about the 24 million innocent fellow Koreans in the North struggling with poverty and starvation and the 200,000 North Korean defectors who risked their lives in search for freedom, reunification is not just a national wish but a national fate.

Since Germany’s reunification, the focus of the inter-Korean reunification has been on the cost of the reunification process. The reunification tasks announced by the Ministry of Reunification on October, 2011 mainly discussed the financial cost. Of course, the cost and financing of the reunification is an important task. However, Germany has gained more fruits than the cost through reunification. As Europe struggles with the economic crisis, unified Germany is no longer a defeated nation or aggressor but is mediator and leader.

Instead of worrying about only the cost of reunification, it is about time we researched its potential benefits and gains. For the future of the nation and the suffering North Korean residents today, endeavors to bring reunification must be continued regardless of trifles and hardships on the way.

by Lee Deog-lo, a professor of public administration at Sejong University

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