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Volume 48 Number 3, February 17, 2018 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

PyeongChang "Peace Olympics": An Important Step Forward in the Korean Nation's Striving for Peace and Reunification

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PyeongChang "Peace Olympics": An Important Step Forward in the Korean Nation's Striving for Peace and Reunification

Letter of DPRK Foreign Minister to UN Secretary General

Friends of Korea (Britain) Pays Tribute to Kim Jong Il and Hails the "Peace Olympics"

Kim Jong Un's New Year Address for 2018

The Initiatives of the DPRK for Peace and Korean Reunification over the Years

PyeongChang "Peace Olympics": An Important Step Forward
in the Korean Nation's Striving for Peace and Reunification

The joint Korean delegation entering PyeongChang Olympic Stadium at the opening
ceremony, ending the parade of nations, led by the Korean Unification Flag

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, which will go down in history as the "Peace Olympics", has marked an important step forward in the Korean nation's desire and striving for peace and for reunification of the Korean Peninsula. It has wrong-footed and nonplussed the US as a blow to their hostility to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and to keep it isolated with a divided Korean Peninsula.

The Korean people have been striving for reunification and peace in the face of the attempts of the US to bring about regime change in the DPRK, attempts which include sanctions to starve and create widespread hardship for the people, attempts in which Britain is also complicit. The "Peace Olympics" have shown that these attempts, though vindictive and punitive, are a miscalculation, and that sanctions, blackmail and military might have been stymied once again by the people's striving for social and national liberation.

Jong Su Hyon (left) of the DPRK and Park Jong-ah (right) of the ROK carrying the Olympic torch up to the cauldron

The conditions were created for the joint participation of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the beginning of the year. In his New Year address, DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said: "As for the Winter Olympic Games to be held soon in south Korea, it will serve as a good occasion for demonstrating our nation's prestige and we earnestly wish the Olympic Games a success. From this point of view we are willing to dispatch our delegation and adopt other necessary measures; with regard to this matter, the authorities of the north and the south may meet together soon. Since we are compatriots of the same blood as south Koreans, it is natural for us to share their pleasure over the auspicious event and help them."

The Moranbong Band and Samjiyon Art Troupe performing in Gangneung, February 8

Inter-Korean talks were then held almost immediately on January 9, which put paid to the US threats to disrupt the Games with fire and fury. Representatives of the DPRK and the ROK took the decision to "proactively cooperate in ensuring that the 23rd Winter Olympics and Paralympics in the south side area will be successfully held, providing an occasion for enhancing the prestige of the [Korean] nation", ultimately resulting in a large DPRK delegation being sent to the games and the two Koreas marching as one in the opening ceremony, among other initiatives.

DPRK pairs skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik practising at the Gangneung Ice Centre

The DPRK delegation which arrived in south Korea on February 7 numbered 280, including the Minister of Physical Culture and Sports and three other members of the DPRK's National Olympic Committee, 229 cheerleaders, 26 members of a taekwondo demonstration team and 21 reporters.

For the first time in 65 years, south and north Korean athletes participated in a unified Olympic team, the women's ice hockey team. The 35-member squad included 15 players from the DPRK.

The DPRK's Moranbong Band and Samjiyon Art Troupe comprised of 140 performers arrived February 6 by ship, under an exemption from the sanctions regime. On February 8, they held a performance at the 998-seat Saimdang Hall of the Gangneung Arts Centre. The south Korean government invited members of families divided by the Korean War and the socially disadvantaged to attend, while 560 seats were reserved for ordinary citizens chosen by lottery. Some 150,000 people are said to have applied online for those seats.

Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK (back left),
and Kim Yo Jong, First Vice Director of the DPRK's Workers' Party Central Committee and head of the DPRK's
delegation to the Olympics (back right)

The delegation of the DPRK was led by Kim Yo Jung, First Vice Director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, and Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK.

Thus the stage was set for the opening ceremony on February 9 taking place in an atmosphere of great excitement with 35,000 people in attendance and with a united north and south Korean delegation participating under the Unification Flag. The joint presence of the athletes and leadership from the ROK and DPRK was the highlight of the opening ceremony, while the performances on stage recounted Korean mythology, history and culture, and focused on the themes of peace and harmony, with brilliance and technological prowess.

President Moon, Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong head to a luncheon
meeting at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, February 10

The hope of the peoples of the world for peace on the Korean Peninsula was officially expressed by the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach. After extending greetings to all those present and calling for good sportsmanship, he significantly highlighted the unifying role of sports and the role the Olympics can play to nurture peace.

A luncheon meeting between ROK President Moon, Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam was held February 10, where the focus was inter-Korean relations. Kim Yo Jong delivered to President Moon a handwritten letter from DPRK leader Kim Jong Un formally inviting him to Pyongyang at the "earliest date possible", to which Moon responded positively, saying, "Let us make it happen by creating the necessary conditions in the future."

(left to right) US Vice-President Mike Pence, DPRK Head of State Kim Yong Nam,
Head of DPRK delegation Kim Yo Jong, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

In contrast, US Vice President Mike Pence, head of his country's Olympic delegation, assiduously avoided contact with members of the DPRK delegation. He left an Olympic dinner hosted by President Moon on February 8 shortly after arriving, where he was to have shared a table with Kim Yong Nam. On February 9, he refused to acknowledge the presence of Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong at the opening ceremonies, though seated practically in front of them. While the entire stadium was seen to give a standing ovation to the joint Korean delegation as it marched through the stadium behind the Unification Flag, Pence pointedly remained seated.

Since the inter-Korean talks took place on January 9, the US has in fact stepped up its aggressive actions towards the DPRK and on January 24 it announced that it would independently impose additional sanctions beyond those imposed by the UN Security Council. The following day, the US Under Secretary of the Treasury flew to south Korea to urge it to maintain thorough-going co-operation in imposing sanctions against the DPRK.

The US then sponsored meetings with south Korean diplomatic and military officials to stress the need for them to lead the north-south dialogue discussing denuclearisation. The US invited high-ranking security and military officials to the US to discuss the issue of intensifying "military co-operation" against the DPRK.

The DPRK cheerleaders at the opening ceremony.

The US has brought the nuclear aircraft carrier Carl Vinson strike groups and nuclear strategic bombers to the Korean peninsula and vicinity. Now it is asserting that, after pausing its military exercises around the Korean Peninsula for the Winter Olympics, it will resume the US-south Korea joint military drills right after the games end, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) points out, adding that it has also staged a flying corps strike drill targeting the DPRK with the Japan Air "Self-Defence Force".

Unified Korean athletes during the opening ceremony

On January 12, seventeen countries, referring to themselves as "Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Partners in Support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2375 and 2397 Enforcement", signed on to a US-led naval blockade of the DPRK, allegedly to enforce UN Security Council sanctions. The sanctions target the entirety of the DPRK with measures aimed at strangling it and preventing it from engaging in normal trade with others. The seventeen are Canada, the United States, Australia, Argentina, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, south Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Singapore and Britain.

In related news, British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that the Royal Navy warship HMS Sutherland, heading to the Pacific with HMS Argyll "to continue the pressure campaign on North Korea", according to the Ministry of Defence, will, in a crude display of sabre-rattling, sail back through the South China Sea. According to Williamson, this is to make "it clear our Navy has a right to do that".

This sabre-rattling of the Anglo-US warmongers is clearly absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Winter Olympics, and shows without doubt who is the threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

We hail, along with progressive forces in many countries throughout the world, the "Peace Olympics", and fervently hope that it will fulfil its promise, fully opening the path to peace and leading to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The Korean nation is one nation, and these Winter Olympics have demonstrated the power and profundity of the people's desire for their struggles for liberation to be crowned with success.

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Letter of DPRK Foreign Minister to UN Secretary General

Pyongyang, January 31, Juche 107 (2018)

His Excellency Mr Secretary-General,

I address this letter to you with respect to emerging dangerous military moves antithetical to the positive changes leading to the improvement of inter-Korean relations and easing of tension now being manifested on the Korean peninsula.

The fact that a dramatic turning point has been made for peace and stability, national reconciliation and cooperation, and reunification on the Korean peninsula where a touch-and-go war danger was prevailing is entirely thanks to the noble love for the nation by the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, his will for reunification based on devotion to the country and people and his great and courageous determination for safeguarding peace.

Owing to our magnanimous initiative, good results are borne in the inter-Korean dialogue, thus giving joy to all fellow countrymen, and a positive atmosphere in favour of improving inter-Korean relations is created, and the international society warmly welcomes and supports this development and looks forward to seeing continued easing of tension on the Korean peninsula.

However, the US authorities are misleading public opinion as if the inter-Korean dialogue is an outcome of their harshest sanctions and pressure imposed upon our country, and seeking to intentionally aggravate the situation by introducing the strategic assets including nuclear powered aircraft carrier strike groups into the vicinity of the Korean peninsula at a time when the north and south of Korea are charting a course of peace together.

In view of its nature and contents, and scope of troop and war equipment being introduced, the US current moves of military reinforcements are designed to make a pre-emptive strike against the DPRK, and this is a primary factor which would block the inter-Korean reconciliation process and drive the situation of the Korean peninsula into an unpredictable dangerous phase.

On the other hand, the United States is openly stating that it will conduct a large-scale aggressive joint military exercise against the DPRK immediately after the Winter Olympic Games.

It is a fact acknowledged by the whole world that whenever joint military exercises took place, the peace and security of the Korean peninsula were gravely threatened and the inter-Korean mistrust and confrontation reached a peak, thus creating great difficulties and obstacles ahead of hard-won dialogues.

We will make every effort to improve inter-Korean relations in the future, too, but never sit idle with regard to a sinister act of throwing a wet blanket over our efforts.

In case the hard-won atmosphere in favour of improving the inter-Korean relations and easing the tensions is undermined due to the US manoeuvres aggravating the situation by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean peninsula, the US would never escape from that responsibility.

As a matter of course, the United Nations should not keep silent as to the US dangerous game of aggravating the situation in and around the Korean peninsula and driving the whole world into the possible disaster of nuclear war.

I express my expectation that you pay serious attention to the US deployment of nuclear war equipment and its manoeuvres to provoke a nuclear war which will undermine the improvement of inter-Korean relations and the easing of tensions, and to exert all your efforts to completely terminate these manoeuvres, in line with your mission stipulated in the UN Charter.

And as an immediate step forward, I would like to request you take up at the UN Security Council, in line with Rule 6 Chapter 2 of the UNSC Rules of Procedure, the issue of welcoming the process of improved inter-Korean relations and discouraging neighbouring countries from disturbing the process.

Please accept, Mr Secretary General, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Ri Yong Ho

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

(Edited slightly for grammar and clarity)

Article Index

Friends of Korea (Britain) Pays Tribute to Kim Jong Il
and Hails the "Peace Olympics"

Kim Song Gi, Minister at the Embassy of the DPRK
in London speaking at the Tribute meeting

On February 9, the day of the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, a meeting was organised by the co-ordinating committee of Friends of Korea at the John Buckle Centre by invitation. The meeting had been organised to mark the 76th anniversary of the late Korean leader Kim Jong Il, which falls on February 16.

The proceedings were presided over by Andy Brooks, Chair of Friends of Korea, and guest of honour was Kim Song Gi, Minister at the Embassy of the DPRK in London. Kim Song Gi gave two informative presentations on the life and work of Comrade Kim Jong Il, and on the significance of the founding of the Korean People's Army as a regular army on February 8, 1948.

Michael Chant, as Secretary of Friends of Korea, in addressing the meeting focused mainly on the issue of safeguarding peace and security of the Korean peninsula, as well as regionally and globally. For instance, he said, Songun politics, which is inseparably linked with the name of Kim Jong Il, is at essence the development of the revolutionary spirit of the armed forces and the necessity for the state to give priority to military affairs, while combining this development with dynamically pushing forward socialist construction according to the principle of self­-reliance. This politics is the aim and guarantor of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and is a factor for peace on the world stage. The warmongers are those who are the enemies of sovereignty and an empowered people deciding their own fate and in control of their own destinies. The US-­led imperialist system of states has made regime change its way of existence; this is no less true today, particularly as the US tries to divert from civil war at home and seeks to destroy what it cannot control.

It can be said to have been one of the great pillars of the life of Kim Jong Il that he worked to  provide concrete solutions and effective means to prevent war on the Korean Peninsula and to ensure a durable system of peace. The DPRK's access to nuclear weapons is an inevitable outcome of the hostile policy of the US toward the DPRK pursued for a long time. It is the stand of the DPRK not to  make any concession in bolstering up its capability for self­-defence. The US is sadly mistaken if it thinks the nuclear deterrence of the DPRK is a matter for political bargaining and economic deals after putting it on the negotiating table. The DPRK's bolstering of its nuclear force is the exercise of the right to self­-defence to counter the US, the world's biggest nuclear weapons state, which is bringing the danger of nuclear war to the Korean peninsula.

The speaker referred to the meeting of the "Vancouver Group", comprised of the states which made war against the Korean people in 1950-53, including Britain, which had taken place on January 16 in Vancouver. He said that this "Vancouver Group" seeks to circumvent the UN Security Council, which is still regarded as the organisation entrusted to safeguard world peace, and the UN General Assembly, which is said to represent all the countries of the world.

The stands and performance of Foreign Minister Boris Johnson at this meeting were unacceptable, the speaker said. Boris Johnson had explicitly emphasised that the meeting should send a message of intensifying the pressure against the DPRK, accusing the leader of the DPRK of provocations, and praising the alleged achievements of south Korea.

This is not representative of the anti-war stands of the British people, Michael Chant declared, who saw through and opposed Tony Blair's warmongering in support of George W Bush's so-called "war on terror". Indeed, this Thursday, February 15, is the 15th anniversary of the massive two-million strong anti-war demonstration through the streets of London, advancing on all fronts to Hyde Park to demand that Blair not back Bush's lies and warmongering and invade and destroy Iraq. The massive lie was that Iraq was the aggressor and had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed within 45 minutes. This is known to be a lie but it did not stop, indeed provided the pretext for, the criminal invasion and destruction of Iraq. The lesson in regard to the DPRK is clear. It is that the Anglo-US absurd claim as to who is the aggressor and who is provoking whom is a total fraud. The British people have right to say, "Not In Our Name!" and reject that Boris Johnson, as Tony Blair before him, is representing them in his boorish threats.

The US has never forgiven the DPRK for defeating it in the Korean War and forcing it to sign the Korean Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953, that brought an end to the fighting in that brutal war, the speaker said. The US has done everything to sabotage the Armistice Agreement and provoke another Korean War. The countless efforts by the DPRK in keeping with Article IV of the Armistice Agreement to have a peace treaty signed with the US have been outright rejected by the latter. The massive annual war games carried out by the US and south Korean forces and more recently between the US, south Korea and Japan, are all aimed at waging war and regime change against the DPRK. These facts alone show who is for peace and who is for war on the Korean peninsula. The THAAD system is part of these war preparations against the DPRK, as well as China and Russia.

What kind of denuclearisation is it that does not include the United States, which is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons and is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction on land, sea and air, and uses them to target Korea, China and Russia, amongst others.

Schemes to control the Korean Peninsula so as to control China and Russia, schemes which greatly endanger the cause of peace, are not what the people consider working for peace.

Portraying the DPRK as the aggressor perpetuates the Cold War disinforming outlook used to justify the Korean War in the first place. That war was waged to secure the Korean Peninsula for the US imperialists who had divided Korea and fomented a civil war there in the 1945-1950 period. Just as the Japanese imperialists had used an occupied Korea to launch their war to colonise China in 1931, the US wanted to use a subjugated and occupied Korea to stop the spread of communism in Asia and as a staging ground on mainland Asia to defeat the Chinese people who were on the cusp of victory in their century long struggle against colonial occupation.

The US aggressors accuse the Korean people, in the form of the DPRK, of being an aggressor against themselves and their own nation. The truth is otherwise. Through their own efforts, the Korean people achieved victory in 1945 following their liberation war against Japan and its brutal colonial occupation of Korea since 1905 upon the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War.

It is a fact that the government and people of the DPRK have drawn the reasonable conclusion that the way to preserve the peace is not to succumb to the tyranny and nuclear blackmail of a state which is the only one to have used nuclear weapons in warfare. It is clear who is threatening to plunge the world into nuclear disaster and who is interested in peace and justice. What the Korean people want and are making headway in is inter-Korean talks without foreign meddling, the peaceful re-unification of their nation and an independent Korea.

In this connection, the Secretary of Friends of Korea spoke of the great excitement and anticipation around the opening of the 2018 23rd Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, south Korea.

The stand of the DPRK in defending its sovereignty, dignity and right to existence is just and has the aim of safeguarding the peace and security of the Korean peninsula, the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole, Michael Chant concluded. The leadership of the DPRK continues to call on the US to sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War. This is what is needed to stabilise the situation on the Korean peninsula and create the conditions for the peaceful, independent reunification of Korea so that it can take its rightful place as an honoured sovereign independent country among the nations of the world. We as progressive forces in Britain must play our part to ensure there is not a further Korean War and to ensure that the people here, as elsewhere, have the power to enforce peace and security.

Lively discussion followed, exploring the significance of the "Peace Olympics", the joint participation of the north and the south, the high-level delegation from the DPRK and the real depth of the sentiment of the Korean people to bring about a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and its reunification. Minister Kim Song Gi of the DPRK Embassy took part in the discussions, answering questions from the participants.

The meeting adopted a message to Comrade Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of the DPRK.

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Kim Jong Un's New Year Address for 2018

An extract relating to inter-Korean relations from the the New Year Address by Kim Jong Un, who is the DPRK's Supreme Leader

The prevailing situation demands that now the north and the south improve the relations between themselves and take decisive measures for achieving a breakthrough for independent reunification without being obsessed by bygone days. No one can present an honourable appearance in front of the nation if he or she ignores the urgent demands of the times.

This year is significant both for the north and the south as in the north the people will greet the 70th founding anniversary of their Republic as a great, auspicious event and in the south the Winter Olympic Games will take place. In order to not only celebrate these great national events in a splendid manner but also demonstrate the dignity and spirit of the nation at home and abroad, we should improve the frozen inter-Korean relations and glorify this meaningful year as an eventful one noteworthy in the history of the nation.

First of all, we should work together to ease the acute military tension between the north and the south and create a peaceful environment on the Korean peninsula.

As long as this unstable situation, which is neither wartime nor peacetime, persists, the north and the south cannot ensure the success of the scheduled events, nor can they sit face to face to have a sincere discussion over the issue of improving bilateral relations, nor will they advance straight ahead towards the goal of national reunification.

The north and the south should desist from doing anything that might aggravate the situation, and they should make concerted efforts to defuse military tension and create a peaceful environment.

The south Korean authorities should respond positively to our sincere efforts for détente, instead of inducing the exacerbation of the situation by joining the United States in its reckless moves for a north-targeted nuclear war that threatens the destiny of the entire nation as well as peace and stability on this land. They should discontinue all the nuclear war drills they stage with outside forces, as these drills will engulf this land in flames and lead to bloodshed on our sacred territory. They should also refrain from any acts of bringing in nuclear armaments and aggressive forces from the United States.

Even though the United States is wielding the nuclear stick and going wild for another war, it will not dare to invade us because we currently have a powerful nuclear deterrent. And when the north and the south are determined, they can surely prevent the outbreak of war and ease tension on the Korean peninsula.

A climate favourable for national reconciliation and reunification should be established.

The improvement of inter-Korean relations is a pressing matter of concern not only to the authorities but to all other Koreans, and it is a crucial task to be carried out through a concerted effort by the entire nation. The north and the south should promote bilateral contact, travel, cooperation and exchange on a broad scale to remove mutual misunderstanding and distrust, and fulfil their responsibility and role as the motive force of national reunification.

We will open our doors to anyone from south Korea, including the ruling party and opposition parties, organisations and individual personages of all backgrounds, for dialogue, contact and travel, if they sincerely wish national concord and unity.

A definite end should be put to the acts that might offend the other party and incite discord and hostility between fellow countrymen. The south Korean authorities should not try, as the previous conservative "regime" did, to block contact and travel by people of different social strata and suppress the atmosphere for reunification through alliance with the north, under absurd pretexts and by invoking legal and institutional mechanisms; instead, they should direct efforts to creating conditions and environment conducive to national concord and unity.

To improve inter-Korean relations as soon as possible, the authorities of the north and the south should raise the banner of national independence higher than ever before, and fulfil their responsibility and role they have assumed for the times and the nation.

Inter-Korean relations are, to all intents and purposes, an internal matter of our nation, which the north and the south should resolve on their own responsibility. Therefore, they should acquire a steadfast stand and viewpoint that they will resolve all the issues arising in bilateral relations on the principle of By Our Nation Itself.

The south Korean authorities need to know that they will gain nothing from touring foreign countries to solicit their help on the issue of inter-Korean relations, and that such behaviour will give the outside forces, who pursue dishonest objectives, an excuse for their interference and complicate matters further. Now it is not time for the north and the south to turn their backs on each other and merely express their respective standpoints; it is time that they sit face to face with a view to holding sincere discussions over the issue of improving inter-Korean relations by our nation itself and seek a way out for its settlement in a bold manner.

As for the Winter Olympic Games to be held soon in south Korea, it will serve as a good occasion for demonstrating our nation's prestige and we earnestly wish the Olympic Games a success. From this point of view we are willing to dispatch our delegation and adopt other necessary measures; with regard to this matter, the authorities of the north and the south may meet together soon. Since we are compatriots of the same blood as south Koreans, it is natural for us to share their pleasure over the auspicious event and help them.

We will, in the future, too, resolve all issues by the efforts of our nation itself under the unfurled banner of national independence and frustrate the schemes by anti-reunification forces within and without on the strength of national unity, thereby opening up a new history of national reunification.

The forced continued separation of the north and south of Korea is a factor for global instability and nuclear war. US imperialism has been the main factor in keeping Korea divided for its self-serving geopolitical aims in Asia, such as the encirclement of China. A reunited Korea will block these strategic aims, and as a beacon of self-determination and independence, will be a factor for peace both in the region and in the world as a whole.

(Kim Jong Un holds the posts of Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army, and Marshal of the DPRK.)

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The Initiatives of the DPRK for Peace and Korean Reunification over the Years

Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification (or Reunification Arch), Pyongyang, DPRK

At the end of the Russo-Japanese War, Korea was declared a protectorate of Japan in 1905. Then in 1910 Korea was formally annexed and forcibly occupied by Japan. The resistance to Japanese occupation came to take the form of guerrilla warfare under the leadership of Kim Il Sung, who founded the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland in 1936. This was the first national united front organisation of the Korean people. Central to its Ten-Point Programme was the overthrow of Japanese rule and the establishment of an army to fight for and defend Korean independence. This programme also laid out the nationalisation of industry and land reform, along with policies such as an eight-hour working day, equality of the sexes and free education. In this way, it connected together the aims of nation-building and social progress, with independence as their precondition.

The Korean people won their eventual victory over Japan's colonial rule during the Second World War, and began to rebuild their nation anew, founding the Korean People's Republic in August-September, 1945. However, with the onset of the Cold War as the Second World War drew to an end, the US sought to ensure its sphere of influence extended into the Korean peninsula. Bordering both China and the Soviet Union, Korea was envisaged by the US as a key strategic base. Korea became artificially divided in 1945 in the aftermath of the Second World War as a direct result of the Cold War Truman Doctrine of the "containment of communism". The establishment of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on August 15, 1948, in the US-occupied south set the seal on this division. This was then followed by the establishment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by the patriotic forces under the leadership of Kim Il Sung in the north on September 9, 1948. Thus two states in one Korean nation came into being.

Division was further entrenched by the US aggression and provocation of civil war which led to the Korean War of 1950-53. On defeat, the US constructed a concrete wall along the 38th parallel in an attempt to make the division of Korea permanent.

Ever since their country was divided, reunification has been the goal of the Korean people. US-led disinformation has repeatedly asserted that the DPRK is the obstacle to peace and security on the Korean peninsula, continuing the Cold War refrain that the DPRK is the warmongering party, and instead suggesting that the only path to reunification is regime change in the north through the interference of the US.

In fact, from the time that Korea was divided against the will and aspirations of the Korean people, it was President Kim Il Sung who provided consistent, timely and decisive leadership, including advancing the three principles of national reunification (May 1972), the Five Point Policy for National Reunification (June 1973), the plan for founding a Democratic Federal Republic of Koryoi (October 1980) and the 10-Point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation for the Reunification of the Country (April 1993). Thus the DPRK has been the initiator of the principles behind all initiatives for peace and reunification since 1945.

In May 1972, Kim II Sung explained the three principles of national reunification at talks between the north and south of Korea held in Pyongyang:

"The three principles of realising independent reunification without outside interference, achieving great national unity by transcending differences in ideas, ideals and systems, and reunifying the divided land by peaceful means without recourse to armed force, are the starting point of and the basis for the solution of our reunification question."

These principles formed the basis of the historic North-South Joint Statement of July 4, 1972, which began:

"The parties have agreed upon the following principles for the reunification.

"First, the reunification must be achieved with no reliance on external forces or interference. It must be achieved internally.

"Second, the reunification must be achieved peacefully without the use of military forces against the other side.

"Third, both parties must promote national unity as a united people over any differences of our ideological and political systems."

Subsequently, the five-point policy for national reunification was put forth in June 1973: to remove military confrontation and lessen tension; to achieve multilateral collaboration and interchange; to convene a Great National Congress; to institute a north-south Federation named the Federal Republic of Koryo; and to enter the UN under that name.

The three principles of national reunification won support at the 28th session of the UN General Assembly in 1973, which adopted a resolution dissolving the US-instigated "UN Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea".

In 1975, the 30th session of the UN General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt the DPRK's demand for the dissolution of the UN High Command, the withdrawal of all foreign troops from south Korea and the replacement of the armistice agreement with a peace treaty.

In line with the three principles for reunification, Kim Il Sung in October 1980 advanced the key proposal for the creation of a single confederal state incorporating the two social systems that exist in the north and south. This state, to be named the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo, would be administered by a single government, yet would be based on respect for and recognition of the ideas and social systems present in each of the two regions of the country. Each side would have autonomy under and be equally represented in this united national government, with equal rights and duties. Furthermore, the new republic would not be a party to any political or military bloc, but would pursue a policy in accord with the interests of the entire Korean people. President Kim Il Sung stressed that the DFRK should be a neutral state that does not join any political and military alliance or bloc. Unlike other federal states, the DFRK would be formed with a homogeneous nation, based on different social systems but composed of one nation and two autonomous regional governments within the framework of a unified state.

Between March 1981 and March 1982, over 1.6 billion people in 105 countries took part in an international signature campaign in support of the proposal for founding a Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo.

Kim Il Sung further elaborated these principles and proposals in his 10-Point Programme for National Reunification at the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK in April 6, 1993:

"1. A unified state, independent, peaceful and neutral, should be founded through the great unity of the whole nation.

"2. Unity should be based on patriotism and the spirit of national independence.

"3. Unity should be achieved on the principle of promoting co-existence, co-prosperity and common interests and subordinating everything to the cause of national reunification.

"4. All political disputes that foment division and confrontation between fellow countrymen should be ended and unity should be achieved.

"5. The fear of invasion from both south and north, and the ideas of prevailing over communism and communisation should be dispelled, and north and south should believe in each other and unite.

"6. The north and south should value democracy and join hands on the road to national reunification, without rejecting each other because of differences in ideals and principles.

"7. The north and south should protect the material and spiritual wealth of individuals and organisations and encourage their use for the promotion of great national unity.

"8. Understanding, trust and unity should be built up across the nation through contact, exchange visits and dialogue.

"9. The whole nation, north, south and overseas, should strengthen its solidarity for the sake of national reunification.

"10. Those who have contributed to the great unity of the nation and to the cause of national reunification should be honoured."

More than 1.73 billion people in some 150 countries participated in the signature campaign for supporting the 10-Point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation for the Reunification of the Country between April and October 1994.

In the 1980s and the early 1990s, the DPRK also offered disarmament and peace initiatives to create conditions for holding tripartite talks involving the US and south Korea in which a peace pact between the DPRK and the US and a non-aggression treaty between the north and south would have been on the table, as well as the phased pull-out of US troops from south Korea in keeping with gradual military reduction by the north and south, and ending the unstable situation of neither peace nor ceasefire.

It was in August 1997, after Kim Il Sung's death in 1994, that his successor as leader Kim Jong Il formulated the three principles of national reunification, the ten-point programme of the great unity of the whole nation and the proposal of establishing the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo as the Three Charters for national reunification, systematising and integrating these issues.

On June 15, 2000, then President of the ROK Kim Dae Jung is welcomed to Pyongyang by then leader of the DPRK Kim Jong Il, for the historic summit produced the North­South Joint Declaration

These principles and proposals created the conditions for the signing of the historic June 15, 2000, North-South Joint Declaration between Kim Jong Il, as Chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK, and President Kim Dae Jung of the ROK in Pyongyang. This event was of crucial importance in finding a way forward on the issue of reunification, achieving a national consensus in the conception of "By Our Nation Itself".

The subsequent joint declaration on the development of the north-south relations, peace and prosperity issued at the north-south summit on October 4, 2007, was a practical programme for national unity being a comprehensive agreement building on the June 15 Joint Declaration and embodying the ideas of the Three Charters. The 2007 programme gave answers to practical and immediate issues arising in achieving the unity of the Korean nation, including the facilitation of the legal and institutional mechanism to develop north-south relations towards reunification, ending military hostility, easing tension and maintaining peace on the Korean peninsula, terminating the status of a cease-fire and instead establishing a durable peace regime, developing the national economy in a balanced way, economic co-operation for common prosperity, consolidating national culture, broadening humanitarian co-operation, securing the rights of the overseas compatriots and other goals.

In his 2015 New Year address, Kim Jong Un emphasised that the north and the south should refrain from seeking confrontation between their two systems, through absolutising their respective ideologies and systems. They should resolve the reunification issue to their satisfaction through the common interests of the nation which transcend differences in ideology. In order to achieve national reunification in line with the desires and intentions of the nation, the Korean people have to reject foreign interference and firmly maintain the stand of "By Our Nation Itself".

In his 2016 New Year address, Kim Jong Un underlined that national reunification is the most pressing and vital task facing the nation. He said that the Korean people should hold up the slogan "Let us frustrate the challenges by the anti-reunification forces within and without and usher in a new era of independent reunification!" and press on with the national reunification movement more vigorously. They should reject foreign intervention and resolve the issues of inter-Korean relations and national reunification independently in keeping with the aspirations and demands of the nation.


i "Koryo" was the name of a Korean kingdom that lasted from 918 to 1392, which was formed from the unification of separate earlier kingdoms, and came to cover the whole of the Korean peninsula. It is from Koryo that the name Korea derives.

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