With warming political relations, is Korean reunification possible?

As North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea for the winter Olympics, discussion about co-operation and reunification has been prompted.

North Korea appears supportive and positive about such discussions, urging “all Koreans at home and abroad” to “promote contact (and) cooperation between North and South Korea”

In the South, however, protests met the North Korean hockey team as they arrived and a poll suggested that 70% of South Koreans were opposed to the joint hockey team, concerned that their players would, in consequence, get less playing time.

Across the sea, reports have come out suggesting that China would support a unified Korea if it meant peace in the region.

The Chinese ambassador to the United States stated: “China would support reunification if it is the will of the Korean people. “As long as it’s peaceful, it’s independent (and) by the Korean people, China will support it,”

The big question though remains, Is reunification ultimately possible? And how? 

According to Statistics by Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies in 2017 (and reported by Smithsonian.com), just under 25% of respondents did not believe reunification was possible. However, the same poll found that almost 54% of South Koreas felt it was necessary.

And discussions about what sort of system a reunified Korea would adopt is also a point of disagreement.  Whilst just under half would like to keep the same democratic system, other suggestions include a hybrid of the two or the continuation of both systems.

The 1990’s and early 2000’s saw some positive discussion and progress between the two nations, however, that appeared to stall when North Korea began nuclear and missile tests, as well as provoking behaviour.

And whilst communication and dialogue have improved between the two Koreas in recent months, the idea of reunification is still abstract. However, with both countries appearing to take steps in the right direction, only time will tell.

“The two Koreas fundamental ideological difference make it difficult to conceive a credible reunification strategy,”  – Anwita Basu, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit (CNN)

 

 

Breaking down the United States national anthem protests

America and their National Football league (NFL) have got a lot of attention recently over what has been called “kneeling protests.” So what are they? And why are they gaining so much attention?

So where did it all begin and why? 

The silent protests began last year when one football player sat/kneeled during the national anthem in protest to racial inequality and brutality.

So why is gaining so much attention?

The protest has blown up since President Trump has taken offence to the action, considering it disrespectful to the flag and country. He openly disagrees with it across social media which has caused it grow.

Where is he coming from? The anti-kneeling argument

It is considered appropriate to show respect to and for one’s country when things such as the national anthem are played. It is not an uncommon for someone to stand or hold their hand over their heart (dependant on culture and country).

Americans (as a whole) are viewed as a patriotic group who incredibly respect their soldiers and country. From this perspective, not standing could be seen as disrespectful not only to the country but also to those who serve it and have given their lives for it.

And counter-argument?  

Those on the opposite side of the protest look past the act as a symbol of disrespect and view as a statement on inequality and race relations like it was originally intended.

The act is a form of non-violent protest used to generate conversation and convey messages of which they are free to do so legally.

What does the public think?

While there is significant and on-going debate over the issue, research by Remington Research Centre found that the majority of Americans surveyed also believed that players should stand when the national anthem is played.

Are players required (legally) to stand?

Digging has found that standing was initially suggested in 1891, but only traditionally followed by NFL from 2009.  Players are said to be “encouraged” to stand but are not technically required to.