February 25, 2024

North Korean defectors in the South: A model for unification?

The lives of refugees show that unification will not be easy or cheap

As of writing this column, some 30,000 North Korean refugees live in South Korea. This is a small community, no doubt, but it is becoming statistically noticeable. After all, refugees constitute 0.1% of North Korea’s entire population. Not much, but enough to make some conclusions about North Koreans’ mindset, values and, above all, their ability to live with South Koreans as members of, supposedly, one nation.

Unfortunately, available statistics paint a rather grim picture, one which makes us wonder what might happen when or if unification happens and North Koreans find themselves living in the same state as Southerners.