Thursday, April 23, 2009


Had an interesting talk with the Chinese and Korean students in my conversation class. These are pretty articulate and pretty smart kids, and a couple of things they said quite suprised me.

First, ALL the Chinese students thought that not only should Korea unify, but that it would. Second, the Korean students were split. Half thought there would be re-unification and the other half thought there shouldn't be.

The short explanation of this is that the Chinese kids believe in re-unification as a general notion, and are clever enough to generalize it. When I said something like "WTF you OWN North Korea, why would you give it up?" they responded with "countries should be unified." And then made an exactly parallel argument about China and Taiwan.

The Korean students, on the other hand, were split between fuzzy racialists (we are all one) and people who were afraid that the economic failure of NK would mean a re-unification would economically destroy SK.

The Chinese students found this interesting, as they identified a similar problem as the main reason that Taiwan had steered away from re-unification with China. That is, they thought Taiwan's historical aversion to China had been economic, and now that China was a tiger, this problem had gone away. Some of the Korean students were politely sceptical that this was the ONLY fear Taiwan had about Chinese rule, but I was amazed at both the depth of thought (I heard some things I hadn't considered) and their willingness to try to express it in English.

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