By Ji Soo Kang
Picture taken from a space station of the Korean peninsula. Image: NASA
June 25, 1950. My grandfather was 12, alone in South Korea when the Korean War broke out. As an elite middle school student from the North, he was chosen to study in a boarding school in Seoul, the current capital of South Korea. Without any information of his family in the North, he was overwhelmed by the harsh reality of the world as he struggled to earn money in order to survive, one day after another, when he should have been studying in a classroom. The war resulted in over 100,000 orphans and more than 10,000,000 separated families across the Korean peninsula.
Since then, the tension between the two brothers hasn’t stopped and the wall seemed to have grown higher. Is it really impossible to cut through the 38th parallel, the line dividing one bloodline into two different nations? Shouldn’t dispersed families at least get a chance to find their parents, brothers and sisters whom they’ve lost unexpectedly? Is it really impossible to bring peace to the world?
According to a Korean research firm, 93% of the randomly picked responders agreed that the entire Korean Peninsula was under one bloodline. However, many South Koreans are afraid that if the two nations become one, they will economically lose a lot. Chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Shin Je-Yoon, stated that it would cost around $500 billion to raise North Korean economy for reunification.
Currently, DPRK’s natural resource trade with their bordering countries are monopolized by China. When the reunification takes place, the country will be able to benefit more by following the correct market price, making the resources worth more. Trading will expand not only through DPRK’s bordering countries like China and Russia, but also through the Trans-Siberian Railway, connecting the peninsula with Europe. Thus, if the countries reunify, the Korean peninsula will be able to prosper even more as one.
If the reunification takes place, factories could be built in DPRK by South Korean companies which will help the country to improve economically and save the cheap-paying North Korean workers who currently work without human rights. Many North Koreans dream of working overseas because they will be able to gain a little more freedom than in their home country. However, the reality is that approximately 60,000 to 65,000 North Koreans work in 40 countries, earning $150 million to $230 million for their country each year. People are digging their own graves while working in hell. When North Korean workers start working in South Korean factories after reunification, more North Korean workers will be able to work in better conditions with better wages and they will be able to improve their lifestyle. If the countries reunify, countless innocent lives would be saved and more opportunities would be made for these hard-working lives.
North Korea has a reputation of being dangerous to the world because of their development of nuclear weapons. Between 2015 and 2017, 42 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) tests were done by North Korea and countries such as the US and Japan felt threatened by DPRK’s leader Kim Jong-Un’s abusive actions. When the two countries peacefully hold hands, DPRK won’t be able to threaten the world with its fatal weapons. If the countries reunify, we, as a world, will be one step closer to peace.
My grandfather always told me that he didn’t want to find his family in the north because it would be harder for him to live knowing that the rest of his family were struggling in a merciless country, a situation he cannot help out with. But I know that deep inside, he feels nostalgic and misses his family more than anything. Why should this be the reality?
As John Lennon’s song “Imagine” says: “you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”
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