“Emergence of Mass Influx of Refugees Unlikely After the Collapse of the Kim Jong Il Regime”

[imText1]There are many people worried about the collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime.

They are worried about the mass emergence of refugees after the collapse of the North Korean regime since the current situation, including the Security Council draft and the North Korean nuclear crisis, is evolving in hinder of North Korea. It is along same line with the president Roh’s recent remark in Germany, “We do not want North Korea’s regime collapse.”

We, the North Korean defectors in South Korea, think this kind of worry of the South Koreans is “rather pathetic.”

Until now there were so many people died of starvation and mass people moved out of the country because of Kim Jong Il dictatorship. If the Kim Jong Il regime collapses, then it is something North Korean people to hail about not to leave homes. Even the defectors currently living in South Korea are thinking of returning home once the Kim Jong Il regime collapses, why would North Korean people flow into South Korea?

Some people even argue, “the North Korean regime collapse will lead to a collapse of both Koreas.’ They are spreading rumors such as “the cost of reunification which is over 20 trillion dollars is the price the South Koreans pay.”

If Not Kim Jong Il Regime, No Defection At All

Will there be a mass influx of the North Korean people carrying the small and big baggage into South Korea once the Kim Jong Il regime collapses? The answer is “no.” Why not?

First of all, we must understand why the North Korean people defect. In the survey conducted by Hanawon, the government education institute for the North Korean defectors, the overwhelming 90% of the defectors answered that their reason for leaving home was because could no longer tolerate inhuman government policies and the military first politics.

The North Korean defectors in one voice ask back, “If we had enough to eat and family alive, why would we have come to this unfamiliar land?” Because that was precisely not the case, we defected. The North Korean people are well aware of the fact that North Korea will become a better place to live once the Kim Jong Il regime collapses and North Korea take the path to reformation and liberalization. The collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime is eradication of one of main reasons for defection.

Why would North Korean people flow into South Korea like a flood? There are people who misunderstand that such thing will happen.

What the North Korean people are thinking is simple. They will not leave if Kim Jong Il regime collapses but they will leave if it remains persecuting people. I would like to recommend those who do not believe that North Korean defect because of the Kim Jong Il Suryeong dictatorship to go and try to survive one month under that regime. After living in North Korea for once week, they will never want to return to North Korea.

North Korean People Do Not Forget Their Homes

Second of all, North Korean people do not like to leave their hometowns. Even if they did, they always want to return psychologically. In the mid 1990s, during the sever food crisis, hundreds of thousands of people traveled back and forth between North Korea and China, but majority of them returned to their homes.

Another vivid example is the North Koreans who came down to South during the Korean War climb up the Tongil Tower in every special occasion to give ceremonies and cry out for their homes they cannot return to. What five decades of time cannot erase if the home they want to go back to even after they become a handful of ashes.

The third reason is the practical reason, which has to do with resettlement and adjustment of the North Korean in the South Korean society. The defectors with no family, peer, regional connection of any sort, have a hard time adjusting to the South Korean society. Especially in such a competitive society as the South Korea, the place for North Korean defectors is very limited. After the Kim Jong Il regime is collapsed, the defectors will feel their difficulties even more and would want to go back to their home towns even for the fresh new starts.

After the Regime Collapse the Defectors Will Return to North Korea

The fourth reason is the fact that even if South Korean people believe they are familiar with North Korea, they do not know as much as the defectors. The North Korean defectors living in South Korea desire to return to their homes. After the unification, the ones who will be able to engage in all aspects of society, in full capacity, are the North Korean defectors who have experienced both North and South societies. The North Korean defectors are hoping to spread the advanced technology of South Korea to the North.

Of course, there will be some North Koreans who will desire to live in South Korea after a sudden collapse of the Kim Jong Il regime. However, it is wrong to think that there will be a mass influx of the North Koreans like a flood trying to come into South Korea. If the government set the policy that North Korean people have to apply and obtain “visa” to enter South Korea, it will be able to prevent the refugee problem to a certain degree. Furthermore, I believe setting such a policy is a good idea.

Mere assumptions made from emotional beliefs without understanding the reality of North Korea are very dangerous and will do not good in leading the nation to a peaceful unification.

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