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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs