For more than a half-century, South Korea and North Korea are at a war. One peninsula parted with a border and at war for 6 decades and known to be a World’s most dangerous border.
Korea was a peninsula ruled as a dynasty known as Chosŏn for more than five centuries, until 1910. Than Korea was independent and had diplomatic relations with China and Japan. Later this peninsula was captured and ruled by imperial Japan for almost 35 years.
At the end of World War II Japan lost all its colonial holdings and surrendered to Allies in 1945. The US, UN and Russia happen to divided this peninsula. In August 1945 with the aides at the State Department divided the Korean peninsula in half along the 38th parallel. The Russians occupied the area north of the line and the United States occupied the area to its south.
By the end of the decade, two new states had formed on the peninsula. Korea was split into South Korea and North Korea due to bad diplomacy. Amid the growing Cold War tensions, two separate governments were established.
South Korea got the anti-communist dictator Syngman Rhee who enjoyed the reluctant support of the American government. North Korea got the communist dictator Kim Il Sung who enjoyed the keen support of the Soviets and fought under Chinese and Russian command.
South Korea government was a slightly-reformed autocratic military government that would not exist without the US military intervening when the Chinese and Soviet military took over virtually the entire peninsula in the 1950s. And North Korean government was the result of its earlier Nationalist leadership in Soviet Russia.
However, both these leaders sponsored by US and Russia’s militaries are believed to have done chaos. Cease-fire was signed to divide the peninsula and to this day, they are technically at war at the same front.
Then, one country is now divided by DMZ (Dematerialize Zone) and formed into two sovereign states.
Today the world is aware of the difference between these two states. Despite many similarities, the two sides of the Korean peninsula are poles apart.
South Korea is a presidential federal republic with a multitude of parties, free elections, and guaranteed human rights unlike the dictator and communist North Korea. North Korea is also known for Kim Jung un, nuclear tantrums, isolationism, and human rights abuses.
South Korea’s economy grew at large rate during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, going from a third world country to a G20 nation within 30 years. It is home to some of the largest tech companies in the world, such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai and is known to have cutting-edge technology.
North Korea is a poor third world country with an ageing military machine, but with weapons of mass destruction. It uses a personality cult to hold the ruler in power, along with extreme nationalism. Its people face discrimination if they oppose the government.
The South Korean military is very large, with an active force and highly trained, well equipped, and has the newest and best technology available. South Korea is well known to the world for it’s entertainment industry, the “Hallyu Wave,” and is seen as a model nation for various third world countries around the world.
North Korean despite being large military is believed to be woefully backwards and still have tanks and aircraft dating back to the 50’s. North Korea is well known for illegally possessing nuclear weapons, conducting missile tests, and the large amount of human rights abuses under the current regime. It is seen as a outcast state to the entire world, even to its closest and only ally China.
While South Korea has turned itself into a technological superpower, North Korea’s government has struggled to supply its citizens with even basic foodstuffs. The UN estimates that more than a quarter of children under five show signs of chronic malnutrition.
North Korea received the lowest press freedom score on the 2013 press freedom index and is seen as one of the world’s most corrupt countries, according to Transparency International’s 2014 corruption perception index. But South Korea ranks as far less corrupt than its northern neighbor. And it’s a key partner for western powers – particularly the United States.
In spite of a similar geographical size, South Korea’s population is almost twice as large as North Korea’s.
Technology wise North Korea is far behind South Korea. For instance; train in North Korea is far away from the modern technology. However, the South Korean Train looks well managed and beautifully developed. Same with the bus station. Freedom of the North Korean youth is suppressed under the force of the dictator. But, South Korean youths got all the freedom to enjoy their life to the fullest.
Despite the same people, same cultural, custom, religion, food, festivals the citizens remain separated by DMZ, one of the most heavily armed borders in the world. More than 6 decades and millions of lives later, the accidental division of North and South Korea continue to haunt the world. It remains the tensest border on Earth.
Currently, with Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump as new presidents of South Korea and the United States, there is a greater degree of uncertainty. US president seems to criticize the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement while insisting Seoul pay for THAAD, a U.S. missile defense system deployed in South Korea. Moon, whose parents fled the North during the Korean War, is likely to put inter-Korean reconciliation as one of his top priorities. This may collide with the current U.S. approach of imposing sanctions against North Korea.
Lastly, all hoping justice, peace and unity for Koreans.