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9월 DAP활동 : 어서와~ North Korea는 처음이지?(2)

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2020-10-15 15:27
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1. Damokchun (32, graduate student of Hanyang University, China)

“I haven't thought much about North Korea, but strangely, I thought it would be good to be unified when I watched the drama "Forced Landing of Love" last year. I think the authorities should guarantee North Koreans’ freedom to live the life they want and go wherever they want to.”

Q. I heard that recent actions of South Korea to liberate the North have caused North Korean regime to counterattack. What do you think about this?

C*W: It is the first time for the Kim family to mention human rights activities for North Korea and North Korean defectors. Previously, there was no such comment, so it had been unclear how North Korean authorities responded. In my opinion, however, Kim Yo-jong’s reaction proved the effect of those activities. It is of great significance that those activities led the response of the North's supreme leader.

Q. North Korea blew up the inter-Korean liaison office last June. Should South Korea continue its human rights activities even if the North shows such a violent reaction? Or should it react quietly?

S*M: I think we should continue. If it stops here, it will be difficult to be active in the future.

K*Y: I heard that North Korean defectors’ families who remain in the North were affected by the authorities' mention of them. I don't know what kind of punishment or sanctions there were, but I think we should be careful because there are people whose family members are in North Korea.

C*R: I think we should continue. I think we should not stay away from democratic activities while UN sanctions against North Korea continue. And if we refrain from acting just because the North acts violently against us, the North Korean regime would think that they can stop our activities through provocation. Therefore, I think we should continue.

H*I: I think democratic activities should be continued. We must not stand still while North Korean regime are suppressing and persecuting defectors.

 

2. Amy (Preacher, Cambodia)

"Killing Fields is an unforgettably horrible massacre for the Cambodian. Intellectuals and rich people were killed first because they wanted to create a communist country. This incident was completely unknown to foreign countries at that time."

“I learned a lot of information about North Korea while attending school meetings. North Korea has been under hereditary dictatorship for three generations and serves Kim Il-sung as an idol. I also know that there is no freedom of religion because there is no human rights of the people. it is also threatening the international community by developing illegal nuclear weapons and missiles.”

Q. How long does it take for North Korean defectors to resettle in South Korea?

K*Y: It took about three to five years. The South Korean government considers the period of protection for North Korean defectors to be five years. At first, I thought five years is long, but now I think I know why the government decided to do so.

H*I: It's been about seven years since I came to Korea, but I'm still settling down.

S*M: I think the standard of settling down is different. It's not easy to adapt because the world changes so fast. It seems vague to say on what basis we settle down.

C*R: I've been in Korea for about a year and a half, and I think I know how to live here. However, I think I’m still adjusting to study and use South Korean language here.

K*K: It's been about a year and a half and I'm still settling down. However, I’m settling down expecting that this year would be different from next year.

 

3. Hyun-hak Lee (Office worker, Residing in Oita Prefecture, Beppu, Japan)

Q. What is the most difficult thing for North Korean defectors after they arrive in South Korea?

K*Y: I'm not sure. Others say that they were surprised and amazed in many aspects of their lives such as going to markets, but I didn't feel such things due to my personality or just because I was too busy. It's hard to pick up a part.

H*I: It was most difficult to adapt to studying. Korean students have been educated for a long time since they were young, so they have an endurance for learning, but it was hard for me to study for long hours.

C*R: There were many people who helped me, so I didn't have any difficulties except for studying. South Korean language is difficult because the words are different from those of North Korean. There are many loanwords and words that are not used by North Koreans.

S*M: I didn't have a hard part, but there was so much information that it wasn't easy to filter the information I needed.

K*K: It seems that different types of hardship comes in different stages. I have had linguistic problems for about a year since I came to South Korea. Wherever I went, people asked where I came from and it was hard to become accustomed to it. After a year of coming to the South, I had difficulty in adjusting to social and cultural aspects. There was a lot of difference from North Korea.

C*R: There's one more thing. In North Korea, the range of personal choices was narrow because people follow as they were commanded by the authorities. However, it is difficult to make a decision on my own here in South Korea because personal choices comes responsibility.

 

4. Emma (Reporter, Sweden) & Simon (Designer, Sweden)

“North Korea is like a time capsule in a lot of ways. North Korea is like a forgotten child between two super powers symbolized as parents between the Soviet Union and the United States. In today’s perspective, North Korea looks very different from the rest of the world, so super interesting. If we weren’t so much South Koreans as we are, we would have traveled North Korea. We hope during our life times we will be able to see parts of real North Korea not just the tourist part of North Korea.”

Q. Out of the total population, how many are very rich, how many are okay, and how many are very poor?

C*R: 20-25% are economically decent and the rest are not. The vulnerable have to live from hand to mouth everyday. The well-off people live well just like in South Korea, but they also use electricity by turning generators. They also have their own private cars and private toilets. This is what I have seen until 2013 before I left North Korea.

K*K: As of 2018, the country is on the verge of collapse, but individuals have developed their competence through the march of suffering. Individuals are developing with great effort. That doesn't mean that the number of the rich has increased. They're just aiming not to starve to death. 20 to 25 percent of the people make it possible for the rest to live by giving them work or so.

“We have read all the popular books that we can find about North Korea but they are all the same. It would be very interesting if somebody who has a bigger picture could describe to us how much it is false and whether he/she thinks that these books give a good picture or not. If you look at Youtube clips on North Korea, I think it gives very narrow picture of North Korea. Books give deeper picture but I guess they are in a very South Korean perspective. What do you see? I believe that because of the reunion of the countries, I think these books are working toward that. I think they don’t want to be critical toward South Korea or North Korea cause that would be troublesome.”

Q. It would be interesting to hear the real stories about North Korea.

H*I: I went to an art academy in Hamhung. Overall, there was no control or exclusion from the Party unless he/she acted against the Party. People can act according to their family's background and environment. Students who learn art often come from rich families, so they have more choices about career than others. It is more free except ideology and politics. North Korea's art is limited to genres such as realism and propaganda, and artists can only draw pictures of landscapes and figures. It is hard to say that North Korean art has advantages over that of South Korea. Art is a creative field, but music has to be about the Party or love between a man and woman. Rapping is not allowed to do because it speaks out one's thoughts.

K*Y: I was a nurse in North Korea. Nursing is a job that North Korean women envy. Since I came to South Korea, I have been able to compare the lives of North and South Korean nurses. For North Korean nurses, a nurse is a buyer and a patient is a provider, while South Korea is the opposite. In South Korea, it seems that it is because nurses are in the position of getting paid, so they have to provide services. To be frank, I think people’s lives are just more of the same. North Korea is also a place where people live, so people enjoy dating with their lovers and freely move from one place to another if their family has money. It is not entirely impossible or difficult to move away from one's residence to another, as South Korean thinks. I hope people would not see only negative aspects of North Korea.

S*M: I worked in a restaurant when I was in North Korea. In South Korea, I'm in a similar process of studying hotel management. In North Korea, there are not many cooks or variety of ingredients. But in South Korea, there are many ingredients to develop various dishes. North Korea is traditional, but development is limited. But it is good to keep one’s own culture.

 

5. Natalie (22, Major in Social Welfare at UFMT, Brazil)

"I see many foreigners and South Koreans who are mean about North Korea. They also say that North Koreans are murderers and horrible people. But in fact, they're people who try to survive every day and night. They're just people who want to live.

I went to South Korea before and fell in love with Korea. Korea is such a pretty country. Someday I will know everything about North Korea and its beauty. Because North Korea and South Korea are like brothers and sisters. Korea is divided, but I see them as brothers and sisters. The South and the North should embrace each other without hating each other.

Thank you for inviting me to this activity. I think this activity is very interesting and helpful to many people. I really want to thank Korea for having my heart and my love."

Laura Alba (college student, Spain)

"When I think of North Korea, a lot comes to mind. But my first thought is 'family'. North Korea is well known as a single large family, and even its leaders are part of a single lineage. I know that this value is so precious to the authorities, but I don't know how they make their people live apart from their family.

North Korea has a rich cultural asset but its isolation hurts all of us. We all want to hear from North Korea, share opinions and learn from them. Because it is a country that has a lot of things to contribute. I think combination is always addition, not subtraction. Maybe it's time to make history, learn from the past, and look into the future. I believe someday we will see the two Koreas reunified and become stronger than ever."

Q. Do you believe in reunification? Do you support unification? (Natalie & Laura)

S*R: I believe and support that unification should be achieved. But it's not an easy matter. I think the South and the North should have the same mind and be prepared systematically. It is unreasonable to unify when it is not. But unification must and will be achieved. I want to do my best for this.

K*K: I support unification, and I am working for it. I have the same idea with S*R. I think unification is something we should make with our hands.

S*M: I believe in reunification because we're trying to achieve it. In North Korea, we cannot speak out our voices properly, but if we come out and talk about the problems, the day of reunification will come. I think the same day has come as today in South Korea because citizens fought for democracy in the 70s and 80s. I think that North Koreans should make even a small effort to achieve reunification rather than just hoping for reunification without doing something.

C*R: Of course I hope so, and I used to think that the unification would come. But now, I don't know. I'm taking a class about North Korean studies, this semester and the professor said, “If North Korea conducts a nuclear test, Japan and the U.S. would get nervous, but we wouldn’t. We must wake up. When we go to the Unification Observatory and see North Korean soldiers, they are ready to invade at anytime with a gun.” I was unacceptable when I heard this. Perhaps because my hometown is North Korea, I still have more feelings for North Korea. That's why we have to wake up and try harder.

H*I: Maybe it's because I'm from North Korea, but it's hard to believe that unification is possible. I don't know if it'll happen someday, but I still have a question. I hope that cultural exchanges and traveling can take place, even if the unification won’t come in our generation. I think that maintaining peace and interacting with each government serve as a ladder to reunification.

K*Y: I firmly supported for reunification only a year or two ago, but now it is hard to believe that unification is possible. It's important to know which form of unification we would choose, but it's hard to unify in both ways. It has already been too long and there are many differences in thoughts. So I hope that two Koreas recognize each other, develop and interact in their own ways rather than to combine into one. I don't know if we must build one nation.

S*M: I have a question. Do you think we can really be the country we want if we recognize and develop North Korea?

K*Y: My offer to recognize North Korea does not mean that we should recognize its nuclear weapons or dictatorship. This means that North Korea should be recognized as an independent country only after North Korean can enjoy their rights and freedom.

S*M: I see. I think I misunderstood a little.

K*Y: I support unification and believe it will happen someday. But I think what is more important than unification is for North Koreans to enjoy freedom and rights. Even if we cannot make Korean peninsula as a perfectly united one country, it would be okay if North Korea becomes a normal state and its people will enjoy their freedom and rights. Even though South and North Korea are separate countries, if people can freely travel between each other like European nations, and develop in their own ways so that all people can enjoy a humane life, I think true unification is achieved in some sense even if they are not completely become one country.

K*D: Before coming to NAUH, I thought unification should not be achieved. I thought I don’t have to care about North Koreans while busy living my own life. There are many people in need here in South Korea, so I didn't know why I should think about North Korea. But I changed my mind after I found out that my grandfather's brothers were in North Korea. Seeing how much they want to go home, I hope for unification.

“We are already living in an era of reunification. People think the cost for reunification is burdensome, but it costs more to maintain a divided state while enduring the psychological tension,” said one of my friends who is in her 20s. I was greatly stimulated by her remark. And at some point, unification seems to have become a part of my life.

J*M: I support unification. As a Christian believer, I hope that unification will be achieved. Personally however, I think it is not easy for the two Koreas to become one. In my opinion, it would be practically impossible to achieve unification by relying on Kim's faith based on vague trust in the North Korean regime without the freedom of North Koreans being guaranteed. As time goes by, the justification for why unification should be achieved will disappear in reality. Therefore, I support unification but it won't be easy to achieve in reality.

 

6. Joshua Mosa (Clergyman, Rwanda)

"In fact, I don't know much about North Korea, but what I've learned through the media is that North Koreans escape because of the authorities’ oppression and control."

Q. I am curious about the social life of North Korea. Can people run their own businesses?

K*K: Only if people get permission from the state. When I was in North Korea, I ran a ship company and there were three employees. In Chongjin, people make a living by running a boat. From late June to October, they catch and export squid and live for a year with three to four months of income. I ran this business for about two years and ended up in debt. But when I started my business, I couldn't go straight to the sea just by buying a boat. It costs twice as much to buy documents as to buy a ship. The document proves which institution authorized my business of running a ship. The reason why it is difficult to get the document is because the state is trying to make money from it. I also got some help from my personal connection to buy the document. But later, it turned out to be a fake one. Even if someone buys a document, he/she can only operate a ship for three to four months. The state collects money by issuing the document. Every time I go to the sea, I have to spend additional money. Furthermore, there are some Chinese boats which were allowed to enter by giving money to Kim Jong-un. When they catch a large amount of fish using a machine, North Korean fishermen are forced to return with an empty boat. I don't think we can have business as freely as we do in South Korea.

S*M: Depends on how much it relates to the government. There is business that the government allows and there is business that is prohibited. There were times when alcohol and tofu were prohibited to be sold. During the Kim Jong-il era, there was an order to do only barter of goods within Razin. With no available information from the Internet, ordinary individuals cannot know about these instructions. In some cases, strangers have been summoned for buying banned items. For example, people have to get permission from the authorities if they want to run a private restaurant. However, if things go well, the government may change the owner of the restaurant. And sometimes they forcibly send the original owner to the Aoji coal mine. Foreigners can also enter North Korea and do business but there are too many restrictions. We don't recommend foreigners to do business in North Korea because if something goes wrong, they will lose everything they invested.

K*D: I watched "Forced Landing of Love" and a man in that drama run a business. Is it possible because he is not South Korean? Can South Korean do business in North Korea?

S*M: There are some countries whom North Korean authorities allow to do business. South Korea is not included but China and some other countries are. You should refer some books such as <Law of North Korean Trade Business>.

Q2. Can men and women have equal opportunities in education?

C*R: I think there is no difference. As there is a patriarchal idea, the generation of parents thinks that women only need to get married rather than studying. But now that it is developed, people think women can succeed by studying like men and so do I.

K*Y: I think it's equal in education.

J*M: Although it is said to be equal in education, the Workers' Party of Korea seat appears to account for an overwhelmingly high proportion of men. Is there any discrimination in promotion?

K*Y: I personally think that men continue their social lives even after marriage, while women have limitations after they have children. And it seems that there is an influence of the idea of predominance of men over women. It is not true that there are no women at all in the Workers' Party of Korea. As you can see from Kim Yo-jung, there are also women in high positions.

S*M: The Chairman of the Ladies Committee is a woman.

H*I: Compared to South Korea, the proportion of men in politics and administration is high. But it is not a social issue there. The atmosphere is taken for granted.

K*K: Although gender equality is said to have been achieved, the proportion of female workers is low because the country is still dominated by the idea of predominance of men over women.

C*R: In North Korea, the patriarchal system is so severe that I think it's okay for a man to serve in the military and be promoted. However, in my mother's case, she spent eight years trying to get promoted to a senior officer, but her effort was ignored. People thought, “Isn't she a male officer’s mistress?” A man who joined the company with my mother was promoted after a year, and a woman who joined the company at the same time took five years. There is a perspective that a man is a manager, and a woman is a secretary.

 

6. Wususan (Assistant administrator of David's Sling Missionary, Hong Kong)

"I have been interested in North Korea since 2012, so I came to South Korea to learn Korea and meet North Korean defectors. I could hear stories about North Korea on the Internet or through friends of North Korean defectors. There's a life that's already been set from birth, and North Korean can't express their rights as freely and coolly as people of Hong Kong do."

Q. I'd like to hear your opinion on whether we can prevent human trafficking and if there is anything we can do to help.

H*I: In order to survive in China after defection, women are forced to be trafficked by brokers regardless of their wishes. I think we can prevent human trafficking if we make routes from China to South Korea and have a structural system for North Korean defectors to escape safely.

L*R: I've thought about human trafficking seriously. I think there is responsibility for preventing North Koreans from being trafficked in China. I think it is important for large organizations or countries, not individuals, to come forward and secure safe routes responsibly.

 

7. Park Joon-san (Assistant administrator of CCC, Republic of Korea)

"North Korea is one of the divided countries, a communist country, and I understand that it is ruled by dictatorship for three generations of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un."

Q. Are you close to each other?

K*K: I think we're close to each other. How about you? I think H*I and K*Y are close. What do you think? We didn't have many chances to get close.

K*Y: I think there's a personal difference. I think we should talk and meet for a long time to be close. There are only a few people who think I’m close among DAP members.

H*I: We have to meet a lot.

C*R: I think we sometimes get together and do some social activities to know each other. I couldn't talk to you because I only knew your face.

K*K: Why don't we all take opportunities to hang out together?

Everybody: All right. 🙂

 

What do you think democracy is?

Amy (Cambodia) I learned about what democracy is in South Korea. It is the nation driven by the people, and the people enjoy freedom and live with human rights.

Emma (Sweden) The freedom of expression. The right to choose and decide on one's own life

Simon (Sweden) Freedom to vote, freedom of expression, rights and equality enjoyed by all human beings.

Natalie (Brazil) To have one’s own thoughts about what to decide, what one really wants. Not to be forced to accept things one doesn’t select.

Damokcheon (China) ,I think true democracy is about securing the basic rights and dignity of human beings.

Joshua (Rewanda) To obtain opportunities of equality in society and to ensure human rights. And to be able to pick a political leader you want

Park Joon-san (Republic of Korea) I think it is freedom and responsibility. I think that the coexistence of freedom and responsibility is the direction in which democracy develops.

Wususan (Hong Kong) Freedom of speech, freedom of religion. I think it is a democracy that citizens have the right to vote, pick who they want by election, and if they have problems, they can ask them to step down.

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