South Koreans fed up with Norks
Peering at North Korea in the hazy distance from the demilitarized zone, standing under an upbeat mural trumpeting improved relations between the separated countries, a visitor from South Korea struck a skeptical note.They are getting the reciprocity they should have expected from North Korea. The "Sunshine" polices of the last decade are nothing more than appeasement gussied up in a pretty package. It is like they are in a relationship with an abusive spouse and nothing they do or don't do will change the abusive partners behavior. Some apparently think it is time for a divorce while others think if they demand more they will stop the abuse. What they need to understand is the problem is not with them but with the leadership in North Korea.
“We sent them food, fertilizer, factories, more than we give our own poor people,” said the South Korean, Lee Soon-hwan, a 30-year-old office worker. “And all they pay us back with is this nuclear test.”
After years of hope that relations with the North would thaw if the South tried to coax it into engagement, regional experts and others speak of growing disenchantment. Many South Koreans reacted with exasperation and even anger to North Korea’s nuclear test on Monday, uncharacteristically harsh responses in a country that has long been more tolerant of its unruly northern neighbor than have its allies in Washington and Tokyo.
Partly, the reaction reflects the outrage here at the timing of the test, coming as South Korea was in mourning over the suicide of a former president on Saturday.
But there are also signs of fatigue with a recalcitrant North that has responded to the South’s largess by continuing to build up its nuclear arsenal.“There has been a paradigm shift in how South Koreans view North Korea,” said Jeung Young-tai, a North Korea expert at the Korea Institute for National Unification. “The nuclear test has made people feel that North Korea has gone too far, and it’s high time for us to be tough on North Korea.”
“South Koreans are feeling frustration and fatigue with the North Korea relationship,” said Daniel Pinkston, North East Asia deputy project director at International Crisis Group, an nonprofit organization that tries to prevent deadly conflicts. “They want more reciprocity.”While there have been no recent public opinion polls, the shift has begun emerging in online chat rooms and newspaper opinion articles, like one in JoongAng Ilbo on Wednesday entitled “Stop Being Suckers for Kim Jong-il.”