South Korea makes new plan for reunification with North Korea

South Korea’s Unification Ministry has announced it will develop a new medium and long-term plan for unification with North Korea, which is expected to be released this year.

“In the first half of this year, we will listen to the opinions of the public and experts. We plan to announce the plan for the year,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced on January 27. The agency says this is one of its seven main tasks for 2023.

South Korean officials said the new reunification plan “will be based on universal values ​​such as freedom, human rights, openness and communication with the aim of peaceful and democratic reunification”.

President Yoon Suk-yeol previously said that in order to unify the two Koreas, there should be changes in North Korea, South Korea and surrounding areas. “Please be prepared for a calmer assessment of the situation instead of a sentimental approach,” Yoon said.

A North Korean soldier (left) shakes hands with a South Korean soldier after the resumption of the route through the DMZ in November 2018.  Photo: Reuters.

A North Korean soldier (left) shakes hands with a South Korean soldier after the resumption of the route through the DMZ in November 2018. Photo: Reuters.

“South Korea’s Unification Ministry in particular needs to do more in-depth research into North Korea’s political, economic, social and cultural conditions, to ensure that our people and surrounding countries have a correct understanding of the situation.” confirm the reality of the Korean people,” President Yoon demanded.

Another task this year for South Korea’s Unification Ministry is to promote the normalization of inter-Korean relations. “In order to achieve a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations, which are at an impasse, we will try to communicate with North Korea directly or indirectly through public and international organizations,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said. know.

Kwon Yong-se, South Korea’s Unification Minister, said the agency should be ready to make changes and create “a denuclearized, peaceful and prosperous Korean peninsula”, despite the fact that “There are many difficulties in inter-Korean relations in 2022 and more difficulties are expected this year”.

North Korea has not commented on the South Korean report.

North Korea and South Korea.  Graphics: CSIS.

North Korea, South Korea and the surrounding area. Graphics: CSIS.

When World War II ended, the Korean peninsula was divided into two regions by the 38th parallel, in which the United States controlled the south and the Soviet Union controlled the north. The Korean War took place in 1950-1953, fighting mainly took place in the south.

The armistice agreement signed at Panmunjom in July 1953 between representatives of the warring parties ended three years of fighting. Under the agreement, the sides agreed to withdraw their forces two kilometers from their controlled positions and establish a four-kilometer-wide demilitarized zone (DMZ) along the new demarcation line between the two Koreas.

However, this is a truce between military forces, not a treaty agreed between governments and ratified by parliament. Therefore, the US-South Korean coalition is still technically in a state of war with North Korea despite the 70-year ceasefire between the parties.

Tensions in relations between the two Koreas have recently escalated. South Korea took part in large-scale military exercises with the United States and Japan, and North Korea later staged multiple missile and new weapon tests in response.

Nguyen Tien (Theo TASS, Yonhap)

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