Kang Chul-ho, a former North Korean refugee now a pastor living in Seoul, believes that at the time of Korean reunification, North Korean defectors in South Korea could play a crucial role in bridging the ideological, economical and social gaps that have widened during the six-decade division.
"It took me 10 years to adjust and become a South Korean. It may take the same amount of time for North Koreans to adjust to a new life here when the two Koreas reunite. The defectors here could help reduce the time by assisting them. We need to train them."
Kang stressed the need to pay more attention to North Korean defectors struggling to adjust to a capitalist South that is "diametrically different" from what they experienced in the North.
"Many churches here are interested in providing aid to North Korea while they pay little attention to the defectors here [in South Korea]. When we cannot embrace North Korean defectors, how can we embrace North Koreans? With proper education and attention, we should help them confidently live in this society," he said.