South Asia and Beyond

South Korea’s President Blasts North Korea, Calls for Unification

 South Korea’s President Blasts North Korea, Calls for Unification

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol has vowed to create a “unified Korean peninsula,” according to a report in AP.

“Unification is precisely what is needed to expand the universal values of freedom and human rights,” Yoon said in a speech on March 1 according to a report in ABC News. “The North Korean regime relies solely on nuclear weapons and missiles while trapping its 26 million citizens in a quagmire of misery and despair.”

March 1 is the 105th anniversary of the Korean independence movement. It celebrates Korea’s 1919 uprising against its then colonisers Japan.

Yoon’s comments are also in direct contrast to his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un.

According to agency reports, the North Korean leader, in a speech in January, had stated that South Korea was its “principal enemy” and that the stated goal of peaceful unification would no longer be pursued.

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The statements come after two years of tension between the two Koreas. According to NBC North Korea has conducted six rounds of missile tests so far this year, most of them reportedly involving cruise missiles. This is in response to joint exercises with the US, Japan and South Korea.

With regard to Japan, Yoon did not touch on his country’s painful past with Tokyo. He emphasised instead the need to move on in his speech.

“Now, Korea and Japan are working together to overcome the painful past,” he was quoted as saying in a report in the Korean Times.  “Sharing the values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law, our two countries have become partners in the pursuit of common interests for global peace and prosperity.”

North Korea has come into the spotlight as it is playing a prominent role in Russia’s war with Ukraine. Agency reports state that Shin Won-sik, South Korea’s defence chief told local media that the North had sent 6,700 shipping containers of ammunition to Russia since July, which may contain more than 3 million 152mm artillery shells or 500,000 122mm rounds.

Ashwin Ahmad

Traveller, bibliophile and wordsmith with a yen for international relations. A journalist and budding author of short fiction, life is a daily struggle to uncover the latest breaking story while attempting to be Hemingway in the self-same time. Focussed especially on Europe and West Asia, discussing Brexit, the Iran crisis and all matters related is a passion that endures to this day. Believes firmly that life without the written word is a life best not lived. That’s me, Ashwin Ahmad.