South Korea and North Korea: it’s time to settle the dispute

Christopher Jung ('12)/Eastside staff and Christopher Jung ('12)/Eastside staff

Since the division of the peninsula, there have been endless cases in which North Korea used violent subversion and sabotage against South Korea despite the armistice in 1953. For example, in 1983, North Korea sent a three-man team to assassinate South Korea president, Chun Doo Hwan, who was giving a speech in Burma. In 1987, as a part of an effort to discredit South Korea as the host country of the 1983 Seoul Olympics, two North Korean agents placed a bomb in a Korean Air jetliner.

This tension between two countries again reached the peak recently because of the Cheonan sinking and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island.

On March 26, 2010, North Korea allegedly sank the South Korean Navy ship, Cheonan. North Korea simply denied that it was responsible for such action. Nevertheless, further investigation, which indicated Korean language written on the remnants of the torpedo, proved that sinking of the ship was caused by the North Korean torpedo.

Again, on November 23, 2010, North Korea bombarded Yeonpyeong island on the basis that South Korean forces infiltrated the North Korean territory and attempted to attack. However, the South Korean and US militaries were simply practicing the annual Hoguk Exercise and also argued that the firing’s direction was toward southwest, not north.

The bombardment involved approximately 108 shells, destroying the military camp, numerous homes and shops on the island.

These two recent events, the Cheonan sinking and the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island, aggravated many South Koreans, as it could be seen from their reactions toward North Korea.

Recently, the South Korean Netizens, users of the internet, hacked into North Korea’s YouTube channel and Twitter account, posting materials that portrayed Kim Jung-Il and his son as “tyrannical pigs”.

However, many historians and experts believe that the only solution to alleviate the tension between North Korea and South Korea would be a peaceful conference. They argue that strong demand from South Korea for reparation for these causes and South Korean Netizens’ aggravation would rather exacerbate the situation. Peaceful action toward North Korea, like the Sunshine Policy, a diplomatic policy that South Korean ex-president Kim Dae-Jung once utilized to soften North Korea’s attitude by offering economic assistance and other aids, would be the most appropriate solution to not only soothe the tension, but also be once step closer to the reunification of two countries.