In a symbol of historic and familial ties, athletes from both North Korea and South Korea will march together in the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The show of unity masks the extreme differences between the two countries.
The two Koreas could not be more different in their national priorities, economies and quality of life. On the one side of the border, in South Korea, the quality of life is quite strong. The vast majority of the population has access to the best technologies and mobile communications. The economy is the 11th largest in the world, and trade with the rest of the world approaches $1 trillion.
In contrast, in North Korea, the economy is one of the weakest and most isolated in the world. Trade in goods with the rest of the world is limited to $3.6 billion a year — just 3.7 percent of trade conducted by South Korea. Except for a small elite, the vast majority of the population lives in dire conditions, without electricity, adequate food and mobile phones. GDP per capital is $1,700 — less than one-tenth of the $37,700 GDP per capita in South Korea.
South Korea is indeed an economic powerhouse. It epitomizes soft power. And North Korea, meanwhile, relies solely on its military investments — or hard power — for its national esteem and identity.
Here’s a visual look at some of the key differences.
by infographic, korea