Twenty years ago recalls Kyo-hee Park, Ph.D., a Korean Language teacher at Temple University Japan Campus, was the year of the 15th presidential election in Korea. “At that time, North Korea was under the regime of Kim Jong-il, and it was a time when the nuclear issue and the long-range missile problem were not serious compared to the present regime under Kim Jong Eun.” She says that President Kim Dae Jung, who was elected as the 15th President of the Republic of Korea, had a pacifist sunshine policy regarding North Korea. “Therefore, I think that the threat of North Korea 20 years ago was not enough to worry about.”

After the impeachment of Park Geun-hye, the upcoming presidential election in South Korea has everyone speculating how the outcome will influence the current situation. “I think that depending on what the presidential candidates’ policies on North Korea is, it can become momentum to further provoke North Korea,” Professor Park points out. “I think we can make Korea stronger or weaker depending on which candidate is elected and how Korea is lead into the future.” Then, not only is North Korea an issue, but internal strife within the ROK could boil over. In some cases, like the division of the people caused by the election of President Trump in the United States, I think that divisions within the Republic of Korea could also make us weaker.”

Then, not only will North Korea be an issue, but internal strife within the ROK could boil over. “In some cases, like the division of the people caused by the election of President Trump in the United States, I think that divisions within the Republic of Korea could also make us weaker.”

Despite this, Professor does not think this is a time of tension since the tension has always been there since the division of the North and South.  As a Korean teacher to non-native speakers of various backgrounds, she feels her job can have a positive impact on society, and I wholeheartedly agree. “[It] is a great way to give students the ability to learn about Korean society. I think that the contents of Korean society may be distorted in the process of being translated into English or other languages, and if students can understand Korean directly, understanding of Korean society will be more accurate.”

 

Kaya

 

 

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