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What influences South Koreans’ support for North Korean resettlement?

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South Koreans use various terms for those arriving from North Korea, from defector to refugee to new settler.

Each has its own connotations. These arrivals are challenging the South Korean government — still committed to eventual reunification — and the general population who see the arrivals as second-class citizens. The resettlement has also contributed to broader economic challenges in South Korea including in welfare spending and job creation.

Few North Koreans made their way to South Korea before the famine of the 1990s. According to the Ministry of Unification, 10,000 North Koreans registered in South Korea by February 2007 and an additional 10,000 by November 2010. Nearly 31,000 North Koreans had registered by June 2017. Thousands still arrive annually despite stronger border controls under Kim Jong-un’s government.

SEE ALSO: Kim Jong Un suggests Korean summit to pursue reunification

Once the North Korean arrivals have been processed, they become South Korean citizens where language poses a hurdle to integration. The Seoul and Pyongyang dialects were different prior to the division of the country. Since then, the northern dialect has been........

© Asian Correspondent