As gigantic the problems that East and West Germany have faced after reunification, they pale in comparison of what is conservatively anticipated should the two Koreas reunite. Notice that I used the word “should” rather than “when,” as much as both Koreans and many foreigners, including myself, hope reunification may eventually happen.
But beyond the geopolitical forces that find cynical utility in keeping the two halves apart, there are the even greater internal obstacles that have already been evidenced by refugees from North Korea as they try to join South Korean society. The issues are mind blowing and the South Korean response has been timid, partially due to budgetary priorities, largely due to heads-in-the-sand mentalities, and probably due to centuries old prejudices against Northerners
Below is a summary of the 40-page study. To view the full study, click here.
Strangers at Home: North Koreans in the South
Asia Report N°208
International Crisis Group
14 Jul 2011