Hope vs reality: The generation gap on Korean unification

Hope vs reality: The generation gap on Korean unification
From Al Jazeera - April 7, 2018

In 1953, North and South Koreans signed an armistice, which brought the Korean War to an end and cleared the way for formal peace negotiations.

Sixty-five years have passed and a formal peace treaty is yet to be brokered.

For the generation of South Koreans that lived and suffered through the war, hope for reunification has loomed large but, as that population ages and dwindles, many in the generations that follow say their links to North Korea are not as strong and they prioritise domestic issues over reunification.

However, historic and fast-moving developments in the last few months have breathed new life into hopes that North and South Korea might enjoy a friendlier and even unified future.

In 2017, tensions in the Korean Peninsula were running high after various missile tests by North Korea and a fiery exchange of rhetoric between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

But during a New Year's speech, Kim's tone shifted, prompting analysts to speculate that the isolated country was suffering from the accumulation of sanctions.

In February, North Korea sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong became the first member of the ruling family to set foot on South Korean soil since the war when she attended both the opening and closing ceremonies.

She invited the South Korean President Moon Jae-in to come to Pyongyang. A meeting between the two leaders has been scheduled for later this month and Kim Jong-un has also made arrangements to meet Trump in the coming months.


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