March 22, 2023

To see South Korea’s future, look to Europe’s refugee crisis

S.Koreans' support for N.Korean immigration will diminish, just as Europeans' has

As even a cursory look through the press these days confirms that the attitude toward the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe has undergone a dramatic change within the last couple of months. As recently as last summer, the German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany would welcome refugees more or less unconditionally. Crowds cheered arriving buses and trains with arriving refugees. Obviously, these people fancied themselves as being like the people who attempted to save Jews during the Holocaust. Politicians and nations who did not show much enthusiasm (mainly in Eastern Europe) were widely reviled as xenophobic, cruel and behind the times.

Europeans seem to have awoken from their soft dreams, and it increasingly looks like a rude awakening. Plenty of refugees have indeed come: In 2015, around 1 million Middle Easterners sought refuge in Europe. As one would expect, the continued conflict in the Middle East, not to mention stories of European generosity, produced an increase in already rising numbers. The first two months of this year have seen 10 times as many refugees as over the same period last year – and the real “migration season” is yet to start.