If you can believe everything you read in the newspaper, then a reasonable conclusion one can reach regarding inter-Korean relations would be that South Korea is a saint while North Korea is delusional. South Korea has long sent aid to North Korea in the form of money, rice and lately swine flu vaccinations. All the while, receiving public criticism and threats from their Northern neighbors.
According to our guide at the DMZ, South Korean aid must come over the border in the guise of a North Korean truck or train so no North Korean thinks that they are getting help from elsewhere. Essentially, the government wants the people to believe that the “Dear Leader” is providing. Even though, by most accounts, he is buying himself expensive cognac and IPods.
That South Korea agrees to such deception is, I think, a testament to the hearts of South Koreans. They care about the people and will provide despite the conditions set forth by Kim Jong-il’s government. However, this is the first time South Korean President Lee Myung Bak has given aid to North Korea since he said he would take a “hard-line policy” with the North when he was elected in 2008.
To the North’s credit, they publicly thanked the South for its aid that will provide enough doses of Tamiflu and Relenza for 500,000 people. Hopefully, Lee will continue to help the struggling North Koreans and that vaccines are getting to where they are needed.