Differences between the North and South Korea that would affect its reunification or aftermath

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North Korea is in East Asia, and it occupies the northern half of the Korea peninsula, while South Korea occupies the southern half. The two countries have been at odds for a long time, and despite the fact that the war between them ended nearly sixty years ago, no progress has been made toward restoring peace. Since resources are limited, citizens often fight and struggle for them; this leads to conflict, which disrupts stability and economic development in the countries involved (Feffer, John. “Korean Reunification”). Many differences exist between the North and South Korea which may make the process of unification difficult.

Religion

Religion plays a key role in influencing the behavior and attitude of individuals towards the society. The people of North Korea are atheists, while those from the South are Protestants and Catholics. In many instances, there exist religious wars by the believers and the unbelievers. All individuals believe in being righteous, and none presents an opportunity or ground where they can compromise and listen to the other people’s views. In North, those who have tried to convert to Christians are often persecuted, and they seek refuge in the south. However, due to the difference in cultural patterns and lifestyle, those from the North find it difficult to cope in the South, and they end up committing suicide (Feffer, John. “Korean Reunification). Religious differences often act as barriers to peace. Holy war exists even on a global scale, and because of the differences in faith, it is impossible to establish a common ground to generate discussions that are meant to create peace.

Leadership styles

In the North Korea, for instance, the form of leadership is dictatorial while people from the South enjoy freedom. In North, with the increase in modernity and globalization, people are yet to benefit from the advantages of technology such as the use of the internet. Only the public members and those who engage in the public services are allowed to use the internet. The strict controls hamper the growth and development of the people. The difference is huge between the two countries, and it is reflected in the way they express their thoughts and their attitudes towards life. It is hard to unite people who have different world views. Those in the South are already exposed in the sense that they know their rights and are keen with the leadership policies as compared to those from the North. Statistics indicate that out of hundred South Koreans eighty-one are registered users of the internet (Feffer, John. “Korean Reunification). They, therefore, have access to information than the others from the North and are likely to make better and informed decisions.

Capitalism

High levels of capitalism capitalize the life of South Korea. The people are proud, and it makes it impossible to unite with those from the North which is a communist state. The South Koreans have fewer emotions when it comes to being considerate about other people’s problems. They are more worried about their families a factor that is opposite from what the North people do. Those from the North are likely to help one another and listen to other people while seeking solutions. The differences in the lifestyle often affect the relationship between the two countries. It makes it difficult for intermediaries, who want to unite the two nations, to start the negotiation process as it lacks a common ground. The difference in style and attitudes towards life is what often generates arguments that result in war and conflicts (Koh 468). Others also feel superior compared to the others, for instance, people from the North have always complained that those from the South often frown upon them. Finding solutions to the problem may remain a challenge for years to come.

Corruption

Corruption affects peace among Nations. When people view the leaders of the other countries as corrupt, it often creates hatred towards those countries. Those in support of the corrupt leaders often defend them in wrong doings; a factor that affects peace and stability of the nation. The rate of corruption is extremely high, and it affects even the economic growth of the county. The factor affects the relationship between the two countries because the leaders often have different views. Acknowledging the mistakes can be one way to solve the disputes, but leaders are often filled with power to a point they cannot compromise their thoughts and perceptions on how the affairs of a country should be conducted. The high levels of corruption make it easier for the government to impose strict measures that prevent the people from recognizing events as they happen on a global scale ((Koh 468). In a free economy, people should be able to express their ideas openly and without fear of any victimization.

Cultural differences

Culture is the shared system of symbols, beliefs, values, attitudes, norms, and expectations of behavior. The people of the North share some similarities with those from the South by their cultural differences outweigh the similarities. They exist in the form of beliefs, for instance, those from the South have faith in God while those from the North do not believe in the same. The difference in religion and lifestyle behaviors often create conflict that results in war. In culture, people should understand that the values are different and that no culture is superior to the other. People should always refrain from making statements about other people beliefs and values to avoid any anxiety that may be created because of the feeling of being superior or inferior to the other (Kwon 86). People should always be open minded about other people’s thoughts, and every person should be willing to compromise in places where they feel the others have an opinion that is stronger than the others.

Nuclear war

The North Korea has nuclear weapons that it uses to threaten other countries like South Korea. The nuclear war has generated many debates among nations, and countries sometimes retaliate. War disrupts peace among the nations, and because of the weapons, the state is often rude to other countries, for instance, threatening to attack them. Nuclear weapons have adverse effects not only on the environment but also people. In many cases, those who are exposed to the nuclear weapons are at risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as cancer following the exposure to radiation. South Korea being the neighboring country to North Korea, is always worried about the long-term effects of the nuclear weapons, if released from North, and the fear of the young people being radicalized to use the nuclear weapons to initiate war against the nation (Philips). The factor has generated debates and global concerns against the utilization of the weapons and the long-term implications they have on the society.

Difference in the economic status

People from the North Korea are poor, and they struggle with poverty compared to those from the South. There is little progress in the North, and even with the initiatives from other countries to help them, the government is still reluctant about opening the countries to global investors who can create business and generate massive wealth and economic growth through the creation of employment. The procedure of even getting a visa to the country is complex and challenging, and the process of leaving the country is also complicated. The strict laws make it impossible for neighboring countries such as the South Korea to step in and assist when the need arises. The resources in the economy are scarce, and the leaders should understand that no country can operate in isolation. We need resources that we cannot produce from the countries which can provide through engaging in trade activities (Park 412). Peace is, therefore, a necessity among countries and it does not matter whether they have different views on religion and culture.

The unification process is complicated. The statistics indicate that more than eighty percent of the people in the North are willing to unite with those from the South. They should, however, take into consideration the fact that the two countries were at war and the souls of others could not have fully recovered from the aftermath. The reconciliation process should be a slow process thus allowing people to heal. The people also have different valued system; a factor that may take time to accept each other’s’ varied world views. Many steps are essential, for instance, other countries may join to unite the people, but it is the individual effort of the citizens that will ensure the process is smooth. Peace allows for the growth of a nation, and when there is freedom, individuals have an opportunity to learn how events unfold from the other people in the society (Philips). They will, therefore, make informed choices about life and hence they will improve their social and economic status.

Communication is essential for dictatorial leaders. In most instances, they are often filled up with their interest and subsequently ignoring the fact that they are in a position to serve the needs of the people. The challenges that the North Korea is facing now could have been controlled, and solutions sought many years ago. The problems hinder progress and affect the economic status of the nation (Branigan). To tackle the problems, the country needs to have a good relationship with other countries such as South Korea since when countries come together, they uplift the social status of themselves.

Conclusion

The North and South Korea are countries that are both located on the same continent, Asia. They have had long term problems of war and conflicts caused by differences in culture, social status and the government leadership style. The type of government often dictates how people express their ideas and thoughts. In areas where democracy exists, individuals, thrive as they have adequate resources. Creating room for dialogue between the North and South Korea will minimize the differences that have always existed and allowed the citizens to learn from one another. This will go a long way in ensuring economic growth of a nation.

Work cited

Branigan, Tania. “Korean Unification: Dreams of Unity Fade into The Past for Young South Koreans.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 May 2013, www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/27/south-north-korea-unification.

Feffer, John. “Korean Reunification: The View from the North.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 June 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/john-feffer/korean-reunification-the_b_7597430.html.

Koh, Kelly, and Glenn Baek. “Handling With Care: South Korean Government Policy and North Korean Defectors Living in South Korea.” Korea Observer, vol. 30, no. 3, 1999, pp. 467–486.

Kwon, Ronald, et al. “Declining Fertility in Two Koreas: The Demographic Implications for a Korean Reunification.” Korea Journal, vol. 55, no. 4, 2015, pp. 85–110.

Niederhafner, Stefan. “The Challenges of Reunification: Why South Korea Cannot Follow Germany’s Strategy.” Korea Observer, vol. 44, no. 2, 2013, pp. 249–287.

Park, Yousung, and Saebom Jeon. “A Study of the Population Structure and Aging of Reunified Korea.” Development and Society, vol. 44, no. 3, Dec. 2015, pp. 411–433., doi:10.21588/dns.2015.44.3.003.

Phillips, Tom. “Costly and Complicated – Why Many Koreans Can’t Face Reunification.” The Guardian, Guardian News, and Media, 9 Oct. 2015, www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/09/why-many-koreans-cant-face-reunification.

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