Problem of Overseas Koreans
The number of Koreans living in different countries of the world amounts to several millions. Most of them are those who were dragged to Japan for military service or forced labour, those who drifted to other countries in search of living and their off-springs.
President Kim Il Sung, viewing the matter of overseas Koreans as an issue of the nation’s independence, took measures to protect by law their status by ensuring that the Nationality Law of the DPRK was enacted and promulgated.
He also saw to it that the great national unity was realized with overseas compatriots for the country’s reunification and prosperity of the nation.
Main Criteria of a Nation
This happened one day in October Juche 49 (1960) during a Korean history lecture for the students of the Economics Faculty at Kim Il Sung University, while Kim Jong Il was enrolled at it.
A student raised a question as to how to view the overseas Koreans, citing a classic proposition that the criteria of a nation include the community of language, territory, economic life and psychology and culture, and that lack of anyone of these four criteria cannot give rise to the formation of a nation.
He meant that according to the author of the classic, overseas Koreans do not belong to the Korean nation. Kim Jong Il said that the classic that was written in the given historical period cannot give answers to all the current problems arising in the revolution and building of a new society, and that the answer to the question should be found in the works of Kim Il Sung.
He continued that the major criteria characteristic of a nation are the commonness in blood, language and territory, but of them the commonness in blood and language is the most important criterion featuring the nation.
Organizations of Overseas Koreans
The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon)
The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan was formed on May 25, Juche 44 (1955).
Chongryon represents and safeguards the national rights and interests of Koreans in Japan and conducts a patriotic struggle for the country and nation by relying on their concerted efforts.
It is composed of the central standing committee, prefectural headquarters, chapters and branches. It has organizations of the people from all walks of life like young people, women, businessmen, educators, men of culture and religionists, working organizations in the fields of speech, publication, news service, the press, scientific research, art, sports and economic trade and a national art troupe. It has established a well-knit educational system ranging from kindergartens to a university, and enforces democratic, national education.
The General Association of Korean Nationals in China
Formed on February 2, Juche 84 (1995), it embraces over two million Koreans in China, most of whom live in its three northeastern provinces.
It is headquartered in Shenyang and issues its organ, titled Paektu-Hal/a. It has under it such organizations as the Federation of Korean Economic Workers in China, the Federation of Korean Youth in China and an art troupe.
There are other overseas organizations in Russia and different regions of the world. They include the Central Association of Koreans in Russia and the International United Confederation of Koreans struggling for the reunification and prosperity of the motherland.
Tripartite Solidarity of Fellow Countrymen in the North, in the South and Abroad
The Korean people are determined to make joint efforts for the reunification and common prosperity of the nation, whether they live in the north, in the south or abroad. Accordingly, the Pan-National Alliance for Korea’s Reunification was formed in Berlin in November Juche 79 (1990). Its overseas headquarters was formed in December the same year, its north headquarters in January the following year and its south headquarters in Juche 84 (1995).
In August Juche 81 (1992) the Pan-National Alliance of Youth and Students for Korea’s Reunification was formed.
Educational Aid Funds and Stipends
In April Juche 46 (1957) when the laying of foundations for socialist construction was in full swing in the DPRK following postwar reconstruction, a decision was adopted to send educational aid funds and stipends to the sons and daughters of Korean residents in Japan.
Kim Il Sung saw to it that educational aid funds and stipends for the overseas compatriots were included in the state’s budget and sent every year, though everything was in short supply; at that time the production of 10 000 tons of steel in addition to the planned quota would ease the heavy burden of the country.
The first batch of educational aid funds and stipends was so huge that tens of thousands of tons of steel could be purchased with it. The Korean residents in Japan built Korea University, the first university of overseas nationals in the world, with the second batch.