News / Asia

    Online Program Touts Reunification to South Korean Youth

    Online Program Touts Reunification to South Korean Youth
    Online Program Touts Reunification to South Korean Youth

    This week negotiators from Washington, South Korea, China and Russia are trying to get the stalled North Korea nuclear talks back on track. The talks are aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program - something that South Korea has long insisted must occur before they could consider reunification. But for many young South Koreans, born decades after the Korean War, reunification is one of the last things on their minds. However a new government-sponsored online television channel hopes to change that.

    South Korea’s Unification Ministry handles relations with North Korea.  It is also responsible for preparing the South Korean people for the day when reunification with the North eventually happens.

    Lee Seung Shin of the ministry’s public relations department, says the government is trying new ways to get its message out to the people.

    Lee says new media technologies are allowing the ministry to better promote its policies.   He says people do not read pamphlets anymore.  They are more accustomed to getting information from the Internet, SMS, television or smart phones,

    Unification Channel


    Starting this October, the Unification Ministry launched an online video on demand website called the Unification Channel.

    The site is updated weekly and features news reports, interviews and media briefings from the ministry all about North Korea.

    But the Unification Channel also aims to provide some laughs.

    Viewers can watch a 20-episode comedy about a South Korean family that adopts a North Korean refugee.  The description of the show says the characters will confront various issues related to reunification.  

    Reluctant youth


    The Unification Ministry says the online channel, as well as new Facebook and Twitter accounts, are all attempts to get young South Koreans interested in North Korea.

    But some observers say that reaching out to Koreans in their teens and early twenties will not be easy.  

    Analyst Andrei Lankov at Seoul’s Kookmin University says after nearly 70 years of division, most youths just do not see the point anymore of reunification.  

    "Pretty much nobody among the younger generation of Koreans is seriously interested in unification and North Korea," he said. "North Korea is increasingly seen as a distant country, an irrelevant place, a poor dictatorship whose population happens to speak the same language."  

    Lankov says the irony is that this generation is more likely than any before to witness a time when the North Korean government ceases to exist.

    Despite that, Lankov says he doubts the Unification Channel will be able to change the apathy of young Koreans.  

    "Such efforts, efforts to promote unification, to remind South Koreans that North Korea does exist, are essentially good. However I am very skeptical about the results.  Frankly, I don’t think all these new kinds of channels and talks will make much difference," he said.

    The Unification Ministry’s Lee Seung Shin says he understands that many young South Koreans have more immediate things to worry about, like studying for school or finding jobs.  

    But Lee says what most concerns nearly all South Koreans is the potential cost of reunification.

    Heavy price tag


    Lee says the costs are going to be huge. When Germany reunited, the Western Germans had to suffer and were burdened because of costs.  He says people here know reunification will be tough on them too so this is another reason why they have lost interest in reunification.   

    The Korea Institute for National Unification estimates that the price tag of reunifying the peninsula at up to $200 billion.

    To offset that economic burden, the South Korean government has proposed setting up a so-called Unification Tax.  If enacted, the money will come out of the paychecks of mostly young workers.  

    Twenty-four-year-old Hwa Seung Hyun, a student at Seoul Women’s University, says the unification channel should explain how that money would be used.     

    "We have to know about North Korea before we unify and also government should teach us why we have to unify before they get our tax," said Hwa. But she adds she is not so sure she will actually log in to watch the Unification channel.

    The same goes for her classmate, 21-year-old Ta-eun.  She says she cannot understand why the two nations should reunite, especially after attacks launched by North Korea in 2010, which killed 50 South Koreans.

    "It seems like they do not want to cooperate with us or the world," she said. "I think that all the members of the world are trying to solve the bad relationship between the South and the North, but only the North is uncooperative."  

    Although it is still too early to tell how many South Koreans will watch the new Unification Channel, there are signs that North Korea is paying attention.

    Recently, the North’s own official media called the channel psychological warfare and declared it an act of aggression aimed at preventing reunification.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora