Misgivings of North Korea's Provocations
The late Gen. MacArthur Statue, a reminder of the Korean War
Rodney Robish and his wife Hannah, cousin sister
Kim Myung-sook(left) are standing in front
the statue of Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Incheon.
The recent aggressive actions by North Korea had South Korea and the world concerned that a war was going to start on the peninsula. When I prepared for this trip to Korea from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, many were concerned for our (my wife Hannah accompanied me) safety as we made the trip to Korea. Despite the fear by some of a war starting, we were not deterred from planning our first winter trip to Korea for the holidays since 1988. This trip to Korea as all the others trips to the land of the morning calm, has me amazed at how much has changed but also how much has stayed the same.
The changes within Korea are amazing. Seeing the modern airport, advanced subway system, internet speed and the advancement of smart phone technology, etc. has made me believe Korea is ahead of other advanced countries in many aspects. The pace of the changes has to place Korea into one the most advanced countries in my view. The changes that Korea has made that I find the most practical and useful are the subway system and the modern airport.
To get around Seoul I prefer to use the subway even in the cold days of winter. There are ample taxis but I find them expensive and using the subway is a more environmentally friendly means of transportation. The subways are clean, efficient, are easy to use and understand and I find the most economical way to get around. Korea should be proud of this achievement and when I return to Pittsburgh I will miss using the subway system.
The Incheon airport is another testament to the progress Korea has made. Upon your arrival, a bright, open, well designed and thought out airport is waiting for you. The old Gimpo airport is now used for domestic flights only and was in need of a major upgrade and Korea made the right decision in building the new airport. Given the increase in tourism to Korea the airport will impress even the most seasoned traveler. The Incheon airport is another achievement that Korea should be proud of making.
As much as Korea has changed some things have stayed the same. I still find the people to be hard working and friendly, the children pursuing education with a zeal that comes from a little nudging from their parents and everyone in Seoul in a hurry to get somewhere. The other thing that has not changed is the division on the peninsula separating North and South Korea which garnered worldwide attention recently and hit close to home as we have a nephew serving in the ROK Marine corps.
Korea's progress can be directly attributed to the hardworking nature and drive of its people. After the Korean War the South was a disaster and working hard and sacrificing allowed for progress to be made. The continual economic development and the pursuit of education will allow the progress achieved in the last three decades to continue with Korean technology and knowledge. Despite all the positive aspects of South Korea and its progress comes with a negative side from its past that doesnOt appear to be going away soon.
The peninsula is still divided from the Korean War. The picture shows a statute erected to honor General Douglas MacArthur whose daring landing at Incheon saved South Korea but still left the country divided once the war ended. Tension levels flare up from time to time creating anxiety in the South but recent actions attracted attention across the world with the sinking of a Korean ship and the shelling of an island in November. These events were unprovoked and the world leaders condemned the attacks and the tension levels have appeared to reduce lately. The recent attacks have provided a lesson to a section of the South Korea at society.
The shelling of the island gave the younger generation of South Korea something to ponder about the North. For years the younger generation has been wanted reunification with the North and the aggressive action from North Korea has given many of them something to think about. Given the proud national pride felt by the citizens of South Korea the young and old and united as one to show the North Korea a united front.
As I prepare to return to the states I will miss my family here and the hustle and bustle of Seoul. Korea should be proud of its accomplishments and continuous improvements. My experience in Seoul has been a positive one and I cannot wait until I return again to see the progress and changes that have been accomplished.nw