More N.Koreans hope unification initiated by South Korea: report
Published : Jun 1, 2011 - 10:00
Updated : Jun 1, 2011 - 11:01
Migrant workers sit near a police electric car patrolling around Shanghai train station on Sunday, May 22, 2011 in Shanghai, China.(AP-Yonhap News)

As the economic gap between North and South Korea widens, more North Koreans think that unification led by South Korea would make their lives better, Radio Free Asia reported.

North Koreans are also well aware of the economic prosperity the South has established and as they suffer from economic hardship, they begin to question the consequences of unification led by communist North Korea.

Unification has been the word of hope for the two Koreas for a long time as well expressed in the song “Our wish is unification.” But, “mentioning the word can cause harm these days in North Korea,” said a Korean-Chinese businessman, identified by surname Oh, who invests in North Korea.

“If unification is mentioned in the wrong context, the person may end up being a political prisoner,” Oh said, noting that unification can be understood as wishing for North Korea to collapse soon.

A Chinese living in South Hamgyeong Province in North Korea with the surname Goo said some people who are tired of poverty even wish any country, whether South Korea or the United States, would conquer their country.

And more people who used to call South Korea as “Nam Joseon,” which North Korea use to refer to South Korea,  now say “Hanguk,” a short term for the Republic of Korea. 

Goo added in the report that some people are worried about how they will manage living for the next 50 years when the North Korean heir-apparent Kim Jong-un becomes the leader of their country. Some people even said they would likely not be able to live in a good country during their lifetime.

South Korea called for a special tax to cover Korean unification last year, with president Lee Myung-bak emphasizing “our duty to start thinking about real and substantive ways to prepare for reunification such as the adoption of a unification tax.”

By Lee Woo-young (

<한글 요약> 

北주민들 살기 어려워지니 흡수통일 바래

한국에 흡수통일 되길 바라는 北주민 점점 늘어나

남한과 북한의 경제적 격차가 점점 벌어지는 가운데 북한 주민들 중 남한주도의 흡수통일을 바라는 사람들이 늘고 있다고 자유아시아방송이 보도했다. 

또한 북한 주민들은 남한이 이루어온 경제적 부강을 알고 있으며 북한에서의 생활이 어려워질수록 북한주도 통일 ‘북남통일’의 가능성을 의심하기 시작했다고 한다. 

북한 투자자인 중국 조선족 사업가 오모씨는 “날이 갈수록 살기가 힘들어지면서 북한 주민들은 하루빨리 통일이 돼야 살기 좋아질 것이라고 말한다”고 자유아시아방송과의 인터뷰에서 말했다. 오씨에 따르면 이런 분위기 때문에 요즘 북한에서 때와 장소를 가리지 않고 ‘통일’이라는 말을 입에 담았다가는 큰 곤욕을 치를 수 있고, 심하면 정치범으로도 몰릴 수 있다고 했다. 

함경남도에 가주하는 화교 구모 씨는 “삶에 지친 주민들이 한국이 됐던 미국이 됐던 빨리 조선을 점령해버렸으면 좋겠다고 막말하는 사람도 있다” 면서 “남한에 대한 호칭도 예전 같으면 ‘남조선’이라고 했지만, 이제는 무의식적으로 ‘한국’이라고 하는 사람들이 많아졌다”고 했다.