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Yoon’s unification white paper states ‘N. Korean denuclearization’

Yoon’s unification white paper states ‘N. Korean denuclearization’

Posted April. 15, 2023 08:36,   

Updated April. 15, 2023 08:36


The Yoon Suk Yeol administration has published its first unification white paper, in which the official term "North Korean denuclearization" was used instead of "Korean Peninsula denuclearization" used by the previous Moon Jae-in administration. The change was made to emphasize that North Korea is the party responsible for denuclearization. A government official stated that this was a clear message to North Korea, which is overtly increasing its nuclear and missile threat levels, to demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization in a serious manner.

On Friday, the Ministry of Unification released the ‘2023 Unification White Paper,’ which contains expressions such as "North Korean denuclearization.” In Chapter 1, the paper pointed out that North Korea has exacerbated the security instability on the Korean Peninsula by continuing its nuclear and missile threats and provocations despite its chronic economic difficulties."

The paper also includes expressions that reflect the South Korean government's strong response principles and policies, such as "firmly responding to North Korea's provocations" and "not tolerating North Korea's nuclear threats or military provocations." In contrast, the ‘2022 Unification White Paper,’ published under the former Moon Jae-in administration, did not contain expressions such as "provocation" and even stated that there was no "high level of tension" despite North Korea's ballistic missile launches.

In this white paper, the term "U.S.-N.K." was repeatedly used to replace the previous expression‎ "N.K.-U.S." “The changes have been made following experts’ suggestion to unify the term (to U.S.-N.K.),” Lee Hyo-jeong, a spokesperson for the ministry, explained at a briefing on the same day.

In addition to the shift in terminology, the new white paper also addressed the North’s human rights issues, emphasizing that improving the human rights of North Korean residents is one of the most critical tasks in North Korea policy.

The ministry also recently published a report that analyzes the human rights abuse cases against North Korean defectors who have recently entered South Korea.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com