Close

Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Korea: Train Connecting North and South Stopped.

The train service that connects North Korea and South Korea was suspended on the 28th of November. [En] When the train that stopped more than 50 years started operating after the North and South Korean summit last year, people were excited and expected closer relations. Due to the increase in stiff relations between the two governments, the North Korean government announced the halt. Netizens respond to these gradual changes of their relations.

Many bloggers share their disappointment about this decision.

남북철도, 잇는데 50년! 끊는데 1년!

예전에 남북문제나 통일관련 다큐멘터리에 단골로 등장하던 경원선 신탄리역의 철도중단점은 통일에 대한 염원과 더불어 우리에게 분단국가의 슬픔을 한층 더 깊어지게 하는 상징이었다. 끊어진 철도와 멈춰서있는 기관차, 그리고 비석에 박힌 ‘철마는 달리고 싶다’는 글귀는 우리들을 더욱 애상에 젖어들게 하는 것이었다.

남북정상회담 이후 작년 5월 17일 반세기만에 남과 북을 잇는 시험 열차가 운행되면서 철마의 꿈은 이루어지는 듯했다. 사람들은 50년 넘도록 멈춰있던 남과 북을 잇는 열차가 운행되면서 기쁨에 들떴고 서울에서 파리까지, 모스크바까지, 런던까지 가는 상상을 하며 다가올 남북교류와 협력에 기대를 걸었다. 그리고 작년 12월 11일 정기열차가 운행되면서 이러한 기대는 바로 현실이 될 수 있는 전기를 마련했다.

하지만 이명박정부 출범 후 악화일로를 걷게 된 남북관계는 철마의 50년 꿈을 1년도 되지 않아 다시 접게 만들었다. 북측에서 “6.15공동선언과 10.4선언을 부정하고 북남대결을 집요하게 추구해온 남측당국”에게 책임을 물으며 개성관광과 남북열차운행을 전면 중단시킨 것이었다.

북측은 이번 조치를 ‘1차적’인 것이라고 강조했다. 앞으로 남측의 반응을 보아가며 차후조치를 취할 것이란 이야기다. 하지만 현재로선 앞으로 남북관계는 더 악화될 것이란 예상이 지배적이다. 국민의 정부, 참여 정부 10년간 진행한 햇볕정책과 그 부산물들이 불과 1년도 안되어 도로아미타불이 될 상황에 놓여있다.[…]
‘조만간 다시 운행이 재개될 것'이라고 쓴 웃음을 짓는 마지막 남북열차 기관사의 말이 너무도 안타깝게 다가온다. 남북을 잇는 철로 앞에는 너무도 자욱한 안개가 끼어있고 멈춘 철마는 다시 달릴 날이 기약이 없다.

Reconnecting the North-South Korean Railway after 50 years and disconnecting it again in 1 year!

The place where the train didn’t move at the Sintanli Station was a popular scene in documentaries regarding reunification or North-South Korean issues. It was the symbol of sorrow of the divided country and of desire to be re-unified. The disconnected railway, stopped train, and a letter ‘Train wants to run’ made us grieve.

After the North-South Korean Summit on the 17th of May last year, the train connecting North and South was finally operated after half a century. It seemed that what the train dreamt for came true. People were excited in watching the train be operated and even expected that it would run to Paris, Moscow, and London. We expected cooperation between North and South Korea. And then, on the 11th of December, the regular train started operating. It was the moment that the dream turned into reality.

However, since the new government launched, North-South Korean relations became worse and 50 year dream of the train had to stop in 1 year. North Korea threw the blame to “the South Korean government that seeks for North-South conflicts and denies the 6.15 Summit and the 10.4 Summit” and stopped operating North-South Korean train completely.

The North Korean government emphasized this as the first step. That means that they would have different settlements depending on South Korean attitudes. However, we mostly predict that it would be worse. What we have done for 10 years would disappear within 1 year.

It was painful to watch that the train engineman with a sour smile said ‘it will be operated again soon.’ Thick fog in front of the railway between North and South Korea and the train there… we don’t know when it can run again.

What is the right direction for reunification?

이산가족상봉은 꿈에도 못꾸고, 금강산 개성관광, 남북철도중지..점점 더 꼬여가는 남북관계 과연 이상황까지 오게된 원인이 무엇이고, 누구에게 책임이 있을까요? 남쪽 북쪽 분명..일방적으로 한쪽 잘못은 아니겠죠? 그러나 한가지 분명한것은 과거 10년동안 우호적인 남북관계가 극단적인 대치상황에 와있고, 앞으로도 더 깊어질것 같다는 것입니다.

한날당은 과거 야당시절부터 남북관계의 기본 전략으로 “상호주의”를 주장하고 있습니다. 내가 떡하나 주면 너도 떡하나 달라..솔직히 남한은 북한의 핵을 빼면, 경제력, 군사력(재래식무기)차이가 비교가 안될정도입니다. 압도적 우위에 있는 상황에서 상호주의를 주장, 더구나 한피를 나눈 민족입니다. 통독전 서독은 어떠했습니까? 공산주의국가중 가장 부자나라인 동독을 상대로 서독은 유무상으로 지원해준 경제지원금이 엄청났다고 합니다. 서독 국민들은 바보였습니까?[…]

Now split family members can’t have a dream to meet their separate family members in the North. Stopping Mt. Geumgang Tourism and the North-South railway… Relations are getting worse. What made the situation like this? Who has responsibility? North Korea? South Korea? I don’t think that it is caused by one side. However, what is clear is that friendly relations between North and South Korea for 10 years have turned sour and will be worse.

The Grand National Party emphasizes “reciprocity” as the basic strategy of North-South Korean relations. If I give a rice-cake, you should give one back… Honestly speaking, except nuclear weapons, South Korea can’t be compared to North Korea in terms of ‘economic power’ and ‘military power.’ We’re in the much superior situation and now we’re insisting on reciprocity. In addition, we’re sharing one ethnicity. Think about West Germany before reunification! They financially supported East Germany disregarding compensation. At that time, East Germany was the richest Communist country. Does that mean that West Germans were stupid?

A citizen journalist and blogger visited the train station.

28일 오전 9시 30분. 도라산역에서 S4401 열차가 힘차게 기적소리를 울리며 북측을 향해 떠났다. 최근 북측의 육로통행 제한에 따른 마지막 열차였다. 지난해 12월 11일 다시 개통된 경의선 철도가 남북관계 경색으로 다시 운행이 중단된 것이다. 이날 남북출입사무소(CIQ)와 도라산역을 뒤덮은 짙은 안개는 현재의 남북관계를 그대로 보여주는 듯했다.

“착잡하다… 이렇게 늦게 출발한 것은 처음 있는 일” 지난해 12월부터 220여회 경의선 열차 운행에 참가했던 기관사 신장철씨는 ‘마지막 운행’ 소감을 묻는 질문에 “착잡하다”고 답했다. “남북관계가 빨리 정상화되어서 더 많은 열차가 남북을 오가길 바란다.” 신씨는 “현재 북측의 분위기는 달라진 게 없다”고 전한 뒤 “북측도 열차 운행 등에 열정을 가지고 있다”며 “더 많은 열차 운행이 이루어질 수 있도록 남북이 모두 노력해야 한다”고 말했다.

이날 마지막 열차는 평소 출발시간보다 30분 늦은 9시 30분에 출발했다. 이와 관련, 신씨는 “이렇게 늦어진 것은 처음 있는 일”이라며 이런 설명을 덧붙였다.

“원래 오전 8시 50분께 북측의 승인이 떨어지면 일단 개성관광 버스가 통과한다. 그 다음에 열차가 출발하고 일반 화물 열차가 북측으로 들어간다. 열차는 보통 9시에 출발해 왔는데 오늘은 좀 늦었다.” 북측의 제한조치에 따라 하루 7차례였던 출경횟수도 4차례로 바뀌었다.[…]

At 9:30 am on the 28th, S4401 train at Dorasan Station left for the North Korean side with a steam whistle. It was the last train since the North Korean government changed its attitude. The train could start running on the 11th of December last year, but due to the stiff relations between North and South Korea the operation stopped. Thick fog that covered the Dorasan Station and Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) seemed to show the current relations between North Korea and South Korea.

“My feelings are complicated… It was the first time to leave so late like this.” The engineer man, Shin Jang Chul who joined this train operation from last December and who operated it 220 times answered. “I hope that our relations get better again and more trains will come across.” He said, “North Korean atmosphere has changed yet either. They also have the passion to operate trains. North Korea and South Korea both of us should make efforts to operate more trains.”

The last train started at 9:30 am, which was 30 minutes late. About this, Mr. Shin said, “It is the first time to be late.” He added, “Usually, after North Korea approves at 8:50 am, the Kaesung Tourism Bus leaves first. And then, the train heads off to the Northern part with containers. The train usually leaves at 9. Today it was late.” After the stiff relations started, North Korea limited to accept 4 trains from 7 times.[…]

Through this incident, many netizens discuss what is the right way for better relations.

[…] 남북관계 파탄의 장본인은 바로 ‘DJ’ 이기 때문이다. 처음부터 DJ의 ‘5억$ 밀거래’ 등 지극히 불대등적, 비정도적, 부도덕적 대북관계를 조급하게 밀어붙이지만 않았던들 오늘의 이 같은 ‘심각한’ 남북경색은 결코 오지 않았을 것이다. 오히려 보다 ‘진전된’ 남북관계가 확립되었을 것이다. 오늘의 남북관계가 단절의 위기까지 치닫고 있는 것은 이명박 정권의 ‘순리적’ 대북정책에 있는 것이 아니고, 모두가 전적으로 김대중과 노무현 좌파정권의 퍼주며 애걸복걸한 ‘성급한’ 대북정책에 있기 때문이다. 남북을 불문하고 이 땅에서 태어난 사람이면 그 누가 통일을 바라지 않겠는가? 하지만 우리의 통일은 애걸복걸 한다 해서 조급히 서둔다 해서 이루어지는 것은 결코 아니고, 그 무엇보다도 ‘시간’ 곧 우리는 독일과는 달리 ‘민족상쟁’ 을 꺾었기 때문에 적어도 이 아픔이 치유되어야 할 시간이 필요하다. […]

[…] The one responsible for destroying North and South Korean relations is the very ‘DJ-Kim Dae Jung, previous President and Novel Peace Prize Laureate.’ If he didn’t push unequal, unrighteous, and immoral policies for North and South Korean relations with ‘500 million dollars,’ this kind of serious and tight relations must have not happened. Rather than this, ‘progressive’ relations would be established. The reason why the two Koreas have problems with each other now is not because of ‘logical’ policies toward North Korea that the Lee Government shows, but because of ‘rushed’ policies that Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun had. Who will not wish reunification as the people who are born here? However, reunification will not happen because we’re hurried or we’re begging. Most of all, we need ‘time.’ Unlike Germany, we went through ‘internal conflicts—fight against the same nationals (ethnic group).’ Therefore, we need time to heal this.[…]

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site