News / Asia

South Korea Makes New Rules for International Marriages

South Korea Makes New Rules for International Marriagesi
X
Jason Strother / Malte Kollenberg
May 29, 2014 3:22 PM
Tens of thousands of South Korean men have married foreign women over the past decade. But according to government statistics, many of those marriages have ended in divorce. Reporters Jason Strother and Malte Kollenberg in Seoul tell us how the South Korean government is trying to change that.
Tens of thousands of South Korean men have married foreign women over the past decade. According to government statistics, however, many of those marriages have ended in divorce. The South Korean government is trying to change that.
 
Lee Soo-yeon is a Vietnamese migrant bride who now goes by her Korean name. The 36-year-old works as a translator at a center for immigrant women in Asan, a city 48 kilometers south of Seoul. She said her six-year marriage to a Korean man did not go so well.
 
“At first we could not communicate well. And later we began to fight a lot. He hit me. I do not hate him now, but I realized he has a drinking problem,” she said.

The couple’s young child now lives with Lee’s mother-in-law. She said it does not look like she will reunite with her husband. Lee blamed the marriage agency that introduced them to each other back in Vietnam.
 
“Marriage agencies do not provide any information about the men they introduce to the women," she complained. "We need to know more about these men, their personalities and their financial stability.”  

Faced with the rising number of divorces amongst international couples, the South Korean government has made new rules for obtaining marriage visas.
 
Seeking understanding

There are financial requirements, but, the couple also must demonstrate they speak a common language.
 
Chung Chin-sung is a sociology professor at Seoul National University and advises the Korean government on multicultural family policy. She said a language requirement could help improve marriages, but the new visa rules do not address the problem at the core of these unions.  
 
“That kind of marriage market where, especially when women become a product, not a human being, should be corrected,” she said.

Chung said that could include banning agencies that arrange quick marriages between people who barely know each other.

Jolly Regacho, a counselor at the Asan migrant center, said if the South Korean government wants to make marriages last, more education might work better.
 
“They should also make a project for the husband to learn the culture of their wife, as well,” said Regacho.
 
Migrant bride Lee Soo-yeon said that despite the break-up of her marriage, she does not plan to go back to Vietnam. She said she will stay in Korea, her new home.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark from: Virginia
May 29, 2014 10:08 PM
Hey, let us know, South Korea, if it works for you.. then let America have a crack at that idea.

Perhaps you could also find a cure for the common cold, while you're at it. Be about as successful, either way.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs