Pupils say match will promote unity in divided peninsula

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 September, 2002, 12:00am

Grade 11 students at the Korean International School in Sai Wan Ho were surprised to hear the North and South of their home country are set to clash in a football match in Seoul today. Most said the match would bring a strong sense of unity for Koreans.

'This will be a huge event for Koreans as these kinds of events give hope of bringing the nations together again,' said Lee Soo-jin. 'My grandparents are not from the North, but they still burst into tears when they watch Korean television programmes where families are reunited after a long time,' said Yoon Me-park.

'My grandfather is from the North where he left his family a long time ago - I think all Koreans will enjoy watching the game,' said Sohn Han-byul.

'My grandfather was from the North - he died, but if he were alive today, he would be very happy to see this event,' said Jenny Choi.

'It seems like unity is getting nearer - it is a Korean dream deeply rooted in our hearts and, fortunately, it looks like it will become a reality soon,' said Jae Keun-kim.

'The main goal of the match is to improve relations between the two countries and if it goes on like this, we will be one again,' said Paul Kim. Others are more sceptical. 'I don't understand why the North want to play this game - two months ago they attacked our naval ships, just because they wanted to ruin the World Cup party,' said Jung Ho-lee.

'I cannot believe that North Korea are playing a match against the South when there are still bereaved families mourning for sailors who died in the Yellow Sea battle in June,' said Yoo Kyun-um. 'The match is just a political facade - a new South Korean president will be elected in three months and North Korea know they must be more open to validate Kim Dae-jung's 'Sunshine Policy', which is very lenient on the North's failure to keep promises,' said Kyun-um.