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North Korea opens up as South approaches with democratic strategies
(Opening of North and South Korea’s democratic strategy)

Written in Korean by Whee Kim
Translation by Minah Lee


It’s a miracle how the nation has endured so well and never deterred until one was liberated from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. South Korea has successfully recovered, overcome the harsh condition and has steadfastly grown and strengthened its economical power. It is now globally known as one of the top ten countries addressed in the OECD. However, regardless of its success and triumph, the country cannot deny the agonizing truth but to accept the fact that the nation has always been separated and long for its re-unification with its lost other half, the North.

It is the nation’s greatest task to succeed in re-unification by utilizing civilized, democratic measures. However, the government’s approach to making it happen was less ideal and ineffective when considering the result and the outcome of movements installed namely, Sunshine policy and Engagement policy. The effort made has rather roused complications upon their implementation. Hence, the government should have taken more calculated and prudent measures when implementing political acts. At the same time one should never overlook the children and the people suffering from poverty and severe living conditions in North Korea. North and South Koreans together, though separated, are people of one nation. This is to say that people of the South should actively be involved and be the first to aid them. Nevertheless we are to remind ourselves of the fact that the country takes the anticommunist line and our greatest political enemy still remains in North Korean government.

Therefore, the Progressive Party should be more cautious in implementing measures and limit taking actions for mere humanitarian reasons. Such political movement formed out of humanity and morality would rather cause greater internal friction within the local political parties and further distant oneself from reuniting with the North. In the past, many political decisions were made and passed strictly through governmental channels. However, the time we live in now demands more active cultural interchange forming more civilized approaches to confront political tensions. The globalization heavily depends on internet-based communities and the involvement or power of government is drastically reduced. Given the advantages of living in the 21st century, major decisions should be formed out of collective input of the people’s hearts and minds and their voices ought to be heard and let it represent the nation. It is wiser to first discuss the issues in regard to the relation between North and South or their politics with the people of its nation and also establish mutual understanding through more communicative and democratic approaches before making a hasty political decision based on mere humanitarian factors.

The reality is that the terms mentioned as above: interchange, collective and communicative/democratic are rather strongly repressed under Kim’s autocracy and its people are not at all familiar with what significance the words convey. With this in mind, the South has to readily accept the fact that people of the North cannot and will not easily open up and change their political views when its ideology has solidified the nation as one static unit for such a long extended period of time and the military empowerment has consistently proven to grow stronger to resist any outside involvement, especially one that of the South. Conclusively, there is only so much hope and reason that they’d change for the better.

Nevertheless, every human being long for freedom and will naturally fight for one if not granted. Perhaps this is the kind of message the South wants to send out to the North and trigger their minds in various ways to have them question the validity of human rights and freedom of speech. Hence, growing number of the young men and women in North Korea may feel conflicted living in the current state of North while witnessing the freedom or the concept of democracy revealed from the West. At this point, political movement may not be the best solution to relieve the strain created. However, there should be more expansion on non-governmental exchange, meaning encouraging diverse cultural communication should take place. The ideology of democracy has to be reached out to the people in North and South Korea can play the role of a bridge to connect the people with the properties of self-governing lifestyles. This way people themselves can feel and experience the cultural differences in order to compare what they have and don’t have: The human rights. They too deserve to be granted with more humanitarian ways of living and be informed of what the value of human life consists of. This kind of exchange would mean so much to them because even the most fundamental principles to a man’s life is nowhere to be found. Providing more democratic approaches in helping them light their own candles is what North Korea truly needs. In time, the people of North will finally open up as they become more aware of the positive change and their ways of thinking will change accordingly, knowing there’s hope by seeing and comparing what’s really out there, beyond the captivity.

There is no doubt that the North government will ever allow the contact between the people and the outside world. Their regime to isolate and to blockade however is far from perfect when the neighbor country China has always had an easy access in and around North. This sort of imperfect closure alludes to administration’s failure of control and management. Presently, the truth is that the power of globalization is so immense, the communication flow and exchange is inevitable. People in North should then inevitably realize this simple truth. Through the received supporting substances and aid we’ve sent, people in South are not their political enemy but a family of the same nation.

It is everyone‘s duty to at least make an attempt to reach out to the families and our communions in North via physical, spiritual and verbal support. The key is to create a collective movement among the young people of South and minimize individualism and indifference to this matter. In this globalized society we no longer rely on any army forces and military manpower. What is more ideal and powerful in rectifying the current state is the indispensable agencies, technologies of modern civilization and fresh new ideas based on people’s genuine interest. The synergy between the two through cooperation and the exchange is all it takes to reverse the damage caused between The North and the South and to ultimately bring about a societal, political change in North Korea. Once this hope and thought have been well collaborated can we then be reunited with our lost half.