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North Korea Shifts Policy, Designates South as “Primary Foe”

January 17, 2024
North Korea Shifts Policy

In a significant departure from its long-standing policy, North Korea has officially abandoned its pursuit of reunification with South Korea. In a speech before the Supreme People’s Assembly on Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a revision of the constitution, declaring the South as the country’s “primary foe and invariable principle enemy,” as reported by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Kim outlined that the revised constitution should incorporate plans for “occupying, subjugating, and reclaiming” the South in the event of another war between the two nations. Despite emphasizing that North Korea currently has no intentions of initiating conflict, Kim asserted that they would not shy away from it either.

In response to this dramatic shift, the North Korean parliament announced on Tuesday the abolition of two government agencies responsible for reunification and economic cooperation initiatives. Additionally, the agency that facilitated South Korean visits to the North’s Mount Kumgang resort was also disbanded.

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Furthermore, Kim Jong Un ordered the eradication of all symbols associated with North-South reunification, including the “Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification” in Pyongyang. The monument, built by Kim Jong Un’s late father, Kim Jong Il, was described by the current leader as an “eyesore.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol strongly condemned Kim’s remarks during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, labeling them as “anti-national and anti-historical.” President Yoon vowed that if North Korea were to attack the South, it would face punishment “multiple times as hard.”

The Korean Peninsula, split between the communist North and the U.S.-backed South since the end of Japan’s colonial occupation in 1945, witnessed a devastating war from 1950 to 1953. The conflict concluded with an armistice, leaving the two sides in a technical state of war.

Tensions between North and South Korea have escalated in recent years, with North Korea intensifying its ballistic missile testing program and expressing intentions to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal. The latest policy shift by North Korea raises concerns about the stability of the region and the prospects for future diplomatic engagement between the two nations.

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