The relationship with North Korea has always been a hot potato for South Korea. And the relationship is particularly unusual these days. ST introduces the recent circumstances of Korea and North Korea. ....................Ed
Both South and North Korea have implemented various policies through the years to improve relations. In particular, with the start of the interKorean summit in 2018, efforts to improve relations have been actively exerted, and the possibility of reunification has increased more than ever. However, the North blew up the South-North Joint Liaison Office on June 16, 2020, sending inter-Korean relations back into a state of the Cold War. Also, on June 17, the North said it would maintain military units in Kaesong and Mount Geumgang, and resume military expansion in the Demilitarized Zone, effectively expressing its intention to scrap the September 19 military agreement.
Since 1969, the Republic of Korea has established the Ministry of Unification to continue its efforts to unify the two Koreas. First, there is the ‘South-North Red Cross Talks’ held by Red Cross representatives from the two Koreas for reunions of separated families in 1971. Secondly, there are ‘High-level inter-Korean talks’ in which the prime minister-level talks comprehensively discuss political issues to ease tensions and improve relations between the two Koreas. In 2018, the South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean counterpart Kim Jung-eun held three rounds of talks, and maintained a belligerent relationship through the ‘Pyongyang Joint Declaration’.
The two Koreas, which have maintained a belligerent relationship so far, entered the Cold War state on June 16. The South-North Joint Liaison Office, which opened after the Panmunjom Declaration in 2018, has become a symbol of peace between the two Koreas, but the North’s exploding of the main building has caused tension.
So far, the soured relations between the two Koreas have continued. Nevertheless, the government and many citizens support exchanges with North Korea. According to a survey conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, more than half of Seoul citizens agree on the need for local governments to play a role in improving inter-Korean relations, and believe that the Seoul-style standard quarantine model needs to support North Korea. Relations between the two Koreas are currently unstable, but if all of us think about and act directly for peace, we will be able to find peace between the two Koreas again and regain our belligerent relations.
Oh Yu-eun (ST Cub-Reporter)