Last week, the Hon. Jeong G. Lee, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in San Francisco, spoke to both students and members of the community alike, addressing the current status of South Korea. While the topics of discussion ranged from the newfound popularity of Korean pop music to South Korea’s emerging economic dependence on China, most of the talk focused on relations with North Korea. While North Korea recently came into the global spotlight during the aftermath of the death of their leader, Kim Jong-Il, the Consul General expressed some hope that this time of transition in the Korean peninsula would open the door for unifying the U.S.-friendly south and the isolationist north.
Lee explained, “Every South Korean Person wants a unification of the [Korean] Peninsula but, in terms of actually doing it, no one is sure how; but we’re trying to prepare for it. With the death of Kim Jong-Il, it’s a good time to make steps towards the unification” However, Lee also acknowledged the difficulty of bridging the gap between these two very different, but powerful, nations, adding, “It’s unfortunate North Korea does not understand the good intentions of South Korea.”