The history and perspectives of the self-perceived Ethnic Unity of Koreans are the subject of numerous debates among the world community. Some researchers focus on irreconcilable contradictions between North Korea and South Korea, while their opponents mark certain positive changes, promoting stability and development.
World War II has caused catastrophic consequences for the Ethnic Unity of Koreans. Having been a single political entity before, Korea was divided into two parts between two countries- the winners, the former Soviet Union and the United States. As a result, contemporary North Korea and South Korea emerged. The belonging to two competing systems, the socialist and capitalist camps, led to significant tensions between two states located on Korean Peninsula (Korean Peninsula, 2013). In 1953, The Korean Armistice Agreement, establishing a demilitarized zone, did not stop the cross-border conflict. Moreover, the reason for the following disagreements became the fast growth of South Korea’s economy, while the agriculture in North Korea collapsed causing severe famine after the disorder of the patronizing Soviet Union in 1990s (Shah, 2013).
Nowadays, one of the key issues of the tensions is the point about nuclear weapon. In fact, North Korea launched its nuclear program in 1960s as the guarantee of it independence (Shah, 2013). The conflict came to a climax in 2013, when North Korea conducted the third nuclear test, drawing the close attention of the world community. The recent negotiations “have collapsed over a disagreement about whether the intended delegations were of similar rank” (Sang-Hun, 2013). Starting negotiations, world’s policymakers have been making attempts to improve the situation and solve the conflict peacefully.
Despite pessimistic statements, there are convincing facts testifying the unity of the Korean nation. Gi-Wook Shin highlights that the events of World Cup 2002, when a considerable number of Korean people gathered in Seoul, celebrating the victory of the Korean team, present Korean “national pride, identity, and confidence” (Shin, 2006, p. 1). According to the polls in South Korea of 1999, 68.2 percent of the respondents in the state argue blood’ the most important feature characterizing the Koreans as a nation. Moreover, 74.9 percent recognize their common roots despite their location and ideology, 67.5 percent of the people answering the questions stated that they highly appreciate their national history (Shin,2006, p.2). In fact, approximately 5,6 million overseas Korean displayed their pride to belong to this ethnicity (Shin, 2006, p. 2). Therefore, Korean nation embraces positive perspectives.
To sum up, the ways of development of the self-perceived Ethnic Unity of Koreans are the subject of numerous debates among the world community. The recent conflicts over the nuclear test conducting by North Korea has made a detrimental impression on the image of the country in the world. Nevertheless, some researchers hope that the significant feeling of the unity and national pride will overcome the severe tensions.