Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Katy Oh on Korean Reunification

Our generation may well see a time when the Korean peninsula will have a single government.

Katy Oh, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, spent a year in Germany studying the process and issues of that nation's reunification 20 years ago.  She says South Koreans should learn from that example, as well as the dramatic change in South Africa a few years later.

"In South Korea, many people think 'Oh, North Koreans came from a very strange and bizarre state and society and we do not really trust them.'  I think this kind of thing can be done through more education and some kind of government active role to perpetuate some of the ideas that embracement is better than neglecting them,”  she said.

Opinion surveys show that South Koreans fear their country of 46 million citizens would be overrun by 23 million North Koreans scrambling for food and shelter should the North Korean regime collapse. 
Katy Oh says fear should make preparation in the South that much more urgent. Oh says Korean unification is perhaps the greatest national task for South Korea.  North and South Korean cultures have been diverging for over half a century.  She believes it likely will take much time for them to blend back together.


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