Unification of North and South Korea

8 08 2009

dmz-split globe This sculpture that we saw on the DMZ trip truly exemplifies the split between the two countries. Before we entered North Korea, we walked through Peace House, built for the talks to end the war. A lovely building, but it’s never been used. The war has not officially ended, so the two countries are still enemies.

Our tour guide’s mother fled North Korea and has no idea what happened to her siblings or other relatives who stayed behind. But I was interested to discover that a bridge between the two countries has been restored and, even more interesting, South Korea has a manufacturing complex located in North Korea. It’s staffed by North Koreans; South Korea supplies the electricity. A joint venture that might lead to unification? One certainly hopes so.

But the soldier who took us into North Korea told us an interesting anecdote about the two countries meeting to talk peace. The talks broke down, but both sides were reluctant to leave the table because they didn’t want to be the first to give in, so they sat there staring at each other for 18 hours until both sides agreed to get up and leave at the same time. That story makes me wonder: How much of war is about pride? About saving face? About fear of being seen as weak? About needing to feel you have the upper hand? About power and control?

If pride and power are taken out of the equation, would everyone live at peace?

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