Some South Koreans protest "illusion of peace" in Winter Olympics

Backlash amid thaw in Koreas relations
Backlash amid thaw in Koreas relations 02:59

SEOUL, South Korea -- Some are calling the Winter Olympics the "Peace Games" for presenting an image of warmer ties between North and South Korea, as athletes from both countries marched under a unified flag in the opening ceremony. The sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un also became the first member of her family to visit the South since the Korean War in the early 1950s. But many South Koreans are protesting what they call an "illusion of peace" to appease the North.

When it comes to dealing with North Korea, their closest neighbor and worst enemy, South Koreans cannot agree, reports CBS News correspondent Holly Williams.

Yim Kyung-Soon hits the slopes outside Seoul every two weeks, carving up the powder. He's also 88 years old and still full of life. Yim learned to ski in the 1940s but had to stop, he told us, because he signed up to fight in the Korean War.

The war began in 1950 and killed four million people by some estimates. The Korean peninsula is now divided between a communist North and capitalist South.

"We need to reunify our country," Yim told us. "We need to work together to bring peace."

"Heal the world," a choir of South Koreans and North Korean defectors sang in perfect harmony – it's Michael Jackson's plea for peace.

But the thaw in relations has also caused a backlash. Right-wing protesters say their government is appeasing the North. After venting their feelings about North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un, the police moved in.

Emotions run high when your nuclear-capable enemy is just 35 miles away.

Recent polls show around half of young South Koreans don't support reunification. Many of them say after 70 years of division, the North is now a foreign country.

"When they wanted to talk, they shot missiles first," Ha Kyoung Sohn said.

One group said reunification might be nice one day but feared it would mean bankrolling the poverty-stricken North and higher taxes for them.

"It's gonna cost us tons and tons of money to rebuild the country," Jihee Won said.

"It is something that's desirable, but I don't think Korea is ready to handle the drawbacks," Sohn said. 

Reunification may be a distant dream or nightmare, depending on your perspective. But a summit meeting between the two Koreas could happen later this year and that would be the first time the countries' top leaders have met in over decade.