Last week, two trains left from North and South Korea, crossing the DMZ to the other side. I thought it was nice that the two sides could interact with one another in such a way, but can such actions truly lead to reconciliation? I am not sure. For instance, is South Korea really willing to take on the economic burden of a reunification? Also, with such stark contrasts between the two forms of government, how can they possibly come to an agreement? With the time getting longer and longer between the separation, are two, increasingly different, cultures able to suddenly come together as one.
Still, these stories of contact between citizens and family members seem to be happening fairly often within the past couple of years, and it is apparent that many Koreans would like to see it continue. Indeed, who wouldn't like to see an close family member that hasn't been seen for years? But the question becomes, in a few decades when the close family ties wear off, will these sentiments towards reconciliation remain? While visiting Korea, I noticed a definite split between the younger and older generations in regards to reunification. This might have been unique to my own experience, but it does make sense the older generations would have much closer ties to their family up north than the younger generations. No matter how the situation is looked at though, beyond the much publicized events such as that in the mentioned article, it seems that many tough decisions must be made on both sides before a realistic reunification solution can even be considered.