[Publishing 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification]
The Ministry of Unification published the 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification, which addresses execution of the government's policy on unification in 2015 and its general preparations for unification.
The government is striving to normalize inter-Korean relations based on strong security and principle and to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In particular, the government paved the way to break the vicious cycle of provocations through high-level contact between the South and North Korean authorities in August 2015 in which the North expressed regret for its landmine provocation in the DMZ, thereby greatly reducing the possibility of any such recurrence.
Despite the South’s efforts, however, North Korea is threatening peace on the Korean Peninsula by making military threats, including its fourth nuclear test. In response, the ROK government shut down the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and is taking tough sanctions against the North with the international community.
The 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification summarizes the Park Geun-hye administration’s unification policy and its preparations for unification for 2015, helping the people better understand the government’s overall policy on unification and reach a consensus on peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.
The Ministry of Unification has published a white paper every year since 1990.
The 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification includes a preface, seven chapters, and appendix.
The seven chapters are Policy toward North Korea and Efforts to Prepare for Unification, Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, Inter-Korean Humanitarian Issues, Inter-Korean Dialogue, Settlement Support for North Korean Refugees, Unification Education, and Consolidating the Foundation for Implementation of Policy. The Appendix includes Important Events in Inter-Korean Relations, Key Statistics, Statistics on the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund, and State Affairs and Reform of the Ministry of Unification.
The 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification addresses the following key unification tasks implemented by the government in 2015.
Firstly, while making a stern response to the North’s transgressions, such as its landmine provocation, the government addressed the issues through dialogue.
o Regarding the North’s landmine provocation in the DMZ, the government reached the August 25 Agreement, which included the North’s expression of regret and its promise to desist from any such further action, through high-level contact between the South and North Korean authorities.
o The government held the first talks between the South and North Korean authorities to discuss improvement in inter-Korean relations.
Secondly, the government consistently carried out civic exchanges to restore a sense of unity while implementing inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation in an orderly and reciprocal way and establishing a model for sustainable inter-Korean cooperation.
o Opening up of and support for “three channels” for inter-Korean cooperation
- The government supported the maternal and child health care project through international organizations (the livelihood of the people), the cooperation project for forestry and environment, the establishment of the multi-farming complex (the environment), and the joint excavation of an ancient royal palace, Manwoldae, in Gaeseong (culture).
o Implementation of system improvement to facilitate the opening up of the three channels for inter-Korean cooperation
- The government created the Division of Development and Cooperation dedicated to improving infrastructure to enhance the livelihood of the North Korean people under the Ministry of Unification, eased the requirements for businesses that want to participate in aid projects for North Korea, and reorganized the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund based on “projects,” instead of “items.”
o Establishment of a sustainable inter-Korean cooperation model
- The government implemented the Rajin-Khasan logistics project (a pilot transportation project) and rebuilt the South Korean section of the Gyeongwon Line.
o Expansion of civic exchanges
- The government announced the “Government’s Position on Promoting Civic Exchanges.”
- The government carried out the joint compilation of Gyeoremal Keunsajeon (Big Dictionary of the Korean People’s Language), staged a football match between the youths from South and North Korea, and conducted a joint inspection and control of diseases and insect pests of the pines on Mt. Geumgang.
Thirdly, the government strived to resolve inter-Korean humanitarian issues.
o Holding the 20th reunion of separated families and building a DB for them
- 972 persons from 186 families were united, and a total of 2,099 persons from 317 families confirmed whether separated family members were still alive.
- The government produced video letters for separated families and established a database on genetic information for genetic testing.
o Efforts to resolve the issue of prisoners of war (POWs) and abductees
- 20 families confirmed whether separated family members were still alive, and two families were reunited on the occasion of the reunion of separated families.
- The government made efforts to address the issue by the U.N.’s treaties on human rights.
o Efforts to support the most disadvantaged people in North Korea and implementation of sustainable development cooperation
- The government supported the maternal and child healthcare project, the treatment of patients with infectious diseases, and provision of diagnostic equipment.
o Efforts to improve the human rights situation in North Korea
- The government enacted the North Korean Human Rights Act and established a U.N. human rights office in Seoul to monitor the North Korean human rights situation.
Fourthly, the government provided customized support for the stable settlement of North Korean defectors.
o Establishment and implementation of the 2015 Plan to Support the Stable Settlement of North Korean Defectors in order to maximize the effectiveness of the settlement support projects and minimize redundancy
o Operation of the Future Happiness Bankbook to help North Korean refugees build their assets
o Efforts to raise public awareness about North Korean defectors
- The government secured budget funds to build a cultural center for inter-Korean integration and laid the foundation for North Korean refugees’ systematic volunteer service by designating 12 volunteer groups as “Good Volunteer Groups.”
Fifthly, the government exerted its best efforts to further build the national consensus on unification preparation.
o Holding the 2015 Seminar to Expand the National Consensus on Peaceful Unification and the Seminar with Experts (the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation)
o Expansion of consensus on unification through cultural approaches on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of national liberation and national division
- The government conducted the Unification Expo, UniKorea Culture Week, UniKorea Culture Contest, and the Piano of Unification Project, and collected historical data for peaceful unification.
o Operation of unification education programs focusing on participation and hands-on activities
- The government carried out Unification Education Week, in-School Unification Education, Unification Leadership Camp, and the UniKorea Culture Contest, and operated the Center for Unified Korean Future.
Sixthly, the government worked harder to build consensus on its policy toward North Korea and its preparations for unification from the international community.
o Sharing knowledge on North Korea and forging consensus on unification through an international conference on North Korean studies
o Strengthening cooperation with the international community
- The government expanded the international consensus on unification through the 1.5-track multilateral conference (Korea Global Forum, unification policy briefings for overseas Koreans in Uzbekistan, etc.) and held the Korea-Germany Joint Consultation Committee on National Unification.
Ten thousand copies of the 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification will be distributed to the National Assembly, public libraries, administrative agencies, educational institutions, media organizations, civic organizations, and unification experts.
*Around 1,000 copies of the English-language version of the White Paper are supposed to be available by the end of August.
The full text of the 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification will be posted on the Unification Ministry’s website (www.unikorea.go.kr) so that anyone can access it anytime, anywhere.
*Check “White Paper” in “Publications & Data” on the homepage.
Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said in the preface, “I hope that you will show great interest in the effort put into the compilation of information included in this 2016 White Paper on Korean Unification so as to turn the current crisis into a new opportunity to reestablish inter-Korean relations and create a new Korean Peninsula. I would like to ask all readers to pull your strength and hearts together on the journey toward the future of the Korean nation – a peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.”