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Today’s question is: What do you think of President Trump and U.S.-South Korean relations?
I didn’t have a very good opinion of America while I was growing up in North Korea. I was taught that America is the reason for the division of the Korean peninsula and that South Korea was a mere puppet of American imperialism.
When I escaped from North Korea and was arrested by the Chinese authorities, I was perplexed and confused by the fact that I was released by the Chinese authorities thanks to the help and donations of Americans. I couldn’t believe that Americans would have prayed for my safety and donated money for my escape from North Korea.
As I’m sure you already know, many American soldiers lost their lives during the Korean War. It didn’t make sense to me that they would have aided my escape from North Korea when I’m from the DPRK.
After I reunited with my parents, I grew to understand why they would’ve helped me. Ever since then, I’ve been grateful for the Americans who supported me.
If you met me now, you wouldn’t believe that I grew up brainwashed to hate America. I wouldn’t be alive and living a new life here in South Korea without the help of Americans. If they hadn’t been there for me, I would’ve been deported back to North Korea to live a miserable life in the prison camp simply because I chose to go to South Korea.
While attending a university in South Korea, I began to have a new perspective on America. And I would like to stress that the following are purely my own personal opinions and perspectives.
First, it seems to me that South Koreans are trapped in the misconception that America will always be there to save them from any danger. There’s no guarantee, in my view, that America will protect the national security of South Korea at all costs. Former President Jimmy Carter pledged to remove the American military from South Korea before being elected as president. South Korea should’ve learned a lesson back then.
When you look at the history of Korea, it didn’t have a strong, independent military. And as a result, it lost its sovereignty to Japan. We had to go through a mortifying chapter of history when the Empress Myeong Seong (formerly known as Queen Min) was assassinated by the Japanese and we couldn’t even retrieve her corpse.
I think history repeats itself. I’m not saying we should break the alliance with the U.S., I’m saying that we need to be a stronger country in terms of national security, while maintaining the alliance with the U.S.
“South Korea only does what it is told by America.”
Second, I don’t understand why South Koreans have such a backward foreign policy.
I got the impression that America doesn’t regard South Korea as an independent state. It seems to me that South Korea doesn’t even have the slightest bit of pride, only doing what it is told by America. This way, the unification of Korea will never come.
I believe that Germans were able to unify their country because they continued to persuade neighboring countries through their own independently constructed foreign policies. As Germany succeeded in comforting France, we need to comfort China.
China fears Korean unification as it doesn’t want the American military on the Sino-Korean border. That’s why China is opposed to the Korean unification. I believe that South Korean diplomats should pledge to be a neutral state like Switzerland after unification.
I would like to ask the leaders of this country, until when do we have to pass down the divided peninsula to our descendants?
Third, I would like to ask a question to President Trump. You said that Korea was a part of China in the past. Do you still think this is true?
America always says that South Korea is an important ally. If this is true, you need to at the very least know the basic history of your ally. Korea has 5000 years of history and it has its own traditions which are different from China’s.
President Trump, I’m not an expert on U.S. history. Yet, I know more about U.S. history than you know about Korean history. I can tell you that. We need to change as the U.S. changes. No, we should’ve changed long before.
No other parties desire the unification of Korea. It is only Koreans who wish for unification.
I’m thankful that the U.S. is one of our allies. But, we need to be strong by ourselves when it comes to national security. What disturbs Washington the most is the possession of nuclear missiles by North Korea. South Korea needs to stand on its own two feet to resolve the issue by itself.
I would like to ask the leaders of South Korea why they are doing as they are told by Americans and remaining passive under the umbrella of America.
I’m not an expert and I’m not saying that my opinions are 100 percent correct, but I’ve been frustrated with South Korea’s foreign policy for too long.
Translation by Elizabeth Jae
Edited by Kevin Search and Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Adam Westerman
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