Bitter Taste of Paradise: North Korean Refugees in South Korea. - Journal of East Asian Studies

Bitter Taste of Paradise: North Korean Refugees in South Korea.

By Journal of East Asian Studies

  • Release Date: 2006-01-01
  • Genre: Social Science
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Bitter Taste of Paradise: North Korean Refugees in South Korea. Journal of East Asian Studies Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

This article deals with the problems of North Korean defectors currently living in South Korea. In the past, most such defectors came from privileged groups in the North Korean population, and their adjustment to the new environment did not pose a significant problem. However, from the mid-1990s, defectors began to come from the far less privileged groups. They experience serious problems related to jobs, education, crime, and social adjustment. Recent years have seen a dramatic but not always openly stated change in the official South Korean attitude toward defectors: from a policy explicitly aimed at encouraging defection, Seoul has moved to the policy of quietly discouraging it. There are fears that encouraging defection will undermine the policy of peaceful engagement with the North. There is also the perception that refugees are outsiders, not quite adjustable to the conditions of South Korean society and thus a social and budgetary burden. KEYWORDS: North Korea, DPRK, migration, communism, refugees, defectors, border, postsocialism, "sunshine policy," North-South Korea relations, minorities

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