North Korea’s recent moves toward peace on the peninsula have not turned out to be as easy as it initially seemed. When Kim Jong Un met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and the two crossed respective borders in the historic meeting in late April, it seemed like things were miraculously improving. Instead, future meetings were cancelled, threats were reborn and reworded, and North Korea, South Korea and the United States have all begun to drift back toward more tense negotiations. The latest of these came in the canceling of the summit planned between President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, which had been planned to occur in Singapore on June 12.
Working behind the scenes in these ventures is South Korea’s Ministry of Unification. They have been around since 1969, and their primary goal (though it has changed from administration to administration) is to promote unification efforts between North and South Korea. This covers several fields. There are the obvious political and social strategies as to how to deal with North Korea, but there are other responsibilities here too. Educating the public on North Korea would be one such necessary effort, as does joining families that have been separated for years, or even decades. They are constantly pushing to explore any crack in the North Korean armor of non-negotiation with the outside world.
They also coordinate with the non-governmental organizations that work to bridge the gaps between the two countries. For example, many groups have been known to fill up balloons with South Korean pamphlets and USB drives, sending them to the North in hopes of spreading word about the actual conditions in the outside world. The North has done this too, with a different intent in mind.
One priority of the MOU is to continue talks of denuclearization, as that is the first step toward a peace based off something other than threats of annihilation.
They describe themselves as such:
On March 1, 1969, the Ministry of Unification was established as a government body responsible for all issues pertaining to inter-Korean relations and unification. The existence of Ministry of Unification reflects the unique reality of the Korean peninsula, which still remains divided since the end of the Korean War.”
This group is in contrast from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRK) — the North Korean’s version of the Ministry of Unification. They claim to strive to work toward a united Korean peninsula as well, thought they have been accused of inciting instability throughout the years.
Featured image: In this photo provided by South Korea Unification Ministry, North Korean Hyon Song Wol, left, head of a North Korean art troupe, exchanges documents with her South Korean counterpart Yun Sang after a meeting at the North side of Panmunjom, North Korea, Tuesday, March 20, 2018. | South Korea Unification Ministry via AP