“Recovery, Inclusiveness and Resurgence,
Republic of Korea 2021”
- Path toward coexistence and peace on
the Korean Peninsula : The Ministry of Unification will take another
step in achieving denuclearization and settling a peace regime -
2021 Ministry of Unification Work Plan
January 21, 2021
Key Tasks of 2021
▸ Make progress toward denuclearization and establishing a peace
regime by pursuing the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
Form a community of life and safety on the Korean Peninsula for
coexistence and peace.
▸ Promote inter-Korean exchange and
▸ Transform the DMZ into an international peace
zone and realize greater peace in border regions.
Institutionalize inter-Korean relations and lay the foundation for
implementing sustainable policy.
< Case I : Policy outcome over the last
four years >
Mr. Park, a resident in Yeoncheon located
near the DMZ, feels a lot more relaxed nowadays when he talks
on the phone with his brother overseas. In the past, either
when military tensions with North Korea were ratcheting up or
when North Korean anti-aircraft machine gun shells would land
in Yeoncheon, his brother would call every day to ask after
him. The situation changed for the better in 2018 when the
PyeongChang Winter Olympics were held and the leaders of the
two Koreas met at Panmunjeom and walked together across a
footbridge. Recently, DMZ Peace Trails along the inter-Korean
border area were opened, though the trails are temporarily
suspended due to COVID-19, and some guard posts were withdrawn
from the DMZ. Hearing such good news, Mr. Park feels much more
at peace in his neighborhood than before.
< Case II
: 2021 Work Plan>
Mr. Sim, an employee at the Korean
Red Cross, has become more hopeful about discussing matters
regarding video reunions of separated families with the North
in a non-contact way after reading the 2021 Minsitry of
Unification Work Plan. If an agreements is to be reached with
the North, video reunions will be held in video reunion
centers located in 13 regions across the country including one
in Jung-gu, Seoul.
● On January 21, the Ministry of Unification reported its 2021
Work Plan to the President at the Presidential Office jointly with
other foreign affairs and security ministries.
I. Policy outcome over the
last four years
● Over the past four years, the Unification Ministry has made
consistent efforts to promote a peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
- By resuming inter-Korean dialogue and various inter-Korean
exchange and cooperation, the Ministry reduced the threat of war and
eased tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
- As the party directly involved in Korean Peninsula issues, the
Ministry has played an important role in denuclearization and North
Korea-U.S. dialogue through close cooperation with the U.S. as well as
● It held inter-Korean talks including summits between leaders of
the South and the North.
- Through a total of 36 inter-Korean talks, including three
inter-Korean summits, the Government was able to improve inter-Korean
relations and lay the foundation for settling peace by alleviating
● It carried out a number of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation projects.
- While supporting various private inter-Korean exchange projects
in fields including sports, history and religion, the Government also
explored the potential of connecting South-North railways and roads
which are the basis of inter-Korean infrastructure cooperation.
- To provide first-hand peace experiences to the public, a DMZ
Peace Tail along the border in Paju, Cheorwon and Goseong were
established, and the Panmunjeom tour application process for South
Korean nationals has been streamlined.
● It made efforts to substantively resolve humanitarian issues
caused by the division of the two Koreas.
- The Government worked in hand with various international
organizations to promote humanitarian cooperation.
- While promoting domestic and international cooperation for the
practical improvement of North Korean human rights, the Government
also enhanced the daily-life oriented settlement support system for
North Korean defectors.
- In addition to face-to-face reunions, the government pursued
other various support measures for separated families such as
producing video letters and conducting genetic testings.
● It established a sustainable foundation for polices regarding
North Korea and unification.
- The Government promoted social dialogue regarding the National
Unification Contract; established the Unification Plus(+) Center in
Incheon; and fostered international awareness on unification while
strengthening online unification education to meet the demands of
II. 2021 Ministry of
Unification Work Plan
① The Ministry will make progress toward denuclearization and
establishment of a peace regime by pursuing the peace process on the
- While restoring the liaison channels between the South and North
Korean authorities as soon as possible, the Ministry will devise plans
to establish a more substantial body for liaison and consultation
between the two Koreas.
- It will improve inter-Korean
relations by engaging in inter-Korean dialogue and implementing
• It will make efforts to
resume high-level talks and talks in various sectors to discuss
pending issues including reunion of separated families and cooperation
in public health, prevention of infectious diseases, and climate and
environment. This also includes cooperation in forestry and prevention
of natural disasters.
- Together with the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, it will plan to substantially address the North
Korean nuclear issue based on coordination between Seoul and
Washington, and it will leverage the improvement in inter-Korean
relations to make progress toward denuclearization and establishment
of a peace regime.
- It will explore ways to hold
inter-Korean military talks and run an inter-Korean military
committee. It will also facilitate the implementation of the September
19 Agreement in the Military Domain together with the Ministry of
Defense to ensure that it is executed as planned.
② The Ministry will strive to form a community of life and safety
on the Korean Peninsula for coexistence and peace.
- It will hold fast to the principle that it consistently carries
out humanitarian cooperation including public health and prevention of
infectious diseases for the benefit of all people in both South and
- It will begin with the matters in which
the two Koreas can work together immediately to overcome COVID-19 and
then expand such effort to cooperation in prevention of infectious
diseases including African swine fever, and to cooperation in the
environment including forestry and management of rivers.
- It will explore ways to cooperate in improvement of livelihoods
including provision of rice and fertilizer in order to expand
inter-Korean humanitarian cooperation this year.
③ The Ministry will promote inter-Korean exchange and cooperation.
- It will expand and carry out cooperation projects in many fields
including tourism after exploring creative solutions to overcome the
realistic limitations due to sanctions against North
• It will expand social and cultural cooperation
through support for public-private joint inter-Korean events and
exchange between social and religious organizations, academic
cooperation projects, and cooperation in major international sports
events especially at the Tokyo Olympics.
- It will seek to resume economic cooperation between
the two Koreas by promoting inter-Korean trade by means of bartering
in goods not subject to sanctions on North Korea; facilitating
individual visits to North Korea; and constructing non-commercial
public infrastructure including railways and roads.
will strive to create conditions conducive to resumption and
normalization of inter-Korean cooperation projects including the
Gaeseong Industrial Complex.
- It will expand the
grounds for inter-Korean exchange and cooperation projects by
exploring development and cooperation projects that are most suitable
for each local government.
④ The Ministry will transform the DMZ into an international peace
zone and realize greater peace in border regions.
- While finding ways to cooperate with the North in culture,
forestry, and the environment along the DMZ, the Ministry will begin
with projects it can commence immediately. These projects may include
a survey of actual conditions in the southern side of the
• It will also give shape to the initiative to
designate the area between Panmunjeom and Gaeseong as a Peace and
Cooperation District, and it will press for the inscription of the DMZ
on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- As soon as the
rules on social distancing to prevent COVID-19 are relaxed, it will
restart tours to Panmunjeom in larger groups
- It will
promote the DMZ Peace Trail program after consultations with relevant
agencies, and offer opportunities for the people to walk along the DMZ
and the Civilian Control Line areas so that they can closely see the
sites of national division and realize the importance of peace and
- It will support the efforts to enact
laws regarding expansion of the peaceful use of the DMZ, the Han River
estuary, and the five West Sea islands and revitalization of the
economies in the border regions.
⑤ The Ministry will institutionalize inter-Korean relations and
lay the foundation for implementing sustainable policy.
- It will pursue the ratification of the Panmunjeom Declaration by
the National Assembly and will amend the Inter-Korean Exchange and
Cooperation Act for more reliable exchange and cooperation.
- It will carry out peaceful and cooperative policy on North
Korean human rights to substantially improve the protection of human
rights in North Korea while building a consensus with private
organizations and the international community.
- It will
establish a “community-centered” and “daily-life oriented” settlement
support system to give local governments more responsibilities for
North Korean defectors.
• In particular, it will find
ways to run a support center for North Korean defectors along with
appropriate agencies to provide one-stop service to marginalized
- It will implement policy on North Korea
together with the general public.
• It will provide
more reliable information on North Korea to the public by disclosing
more material produced by the North and archives of inter-Korean
talks. It will also seek to do so by introducing an Artificial
Intelligence and Big Data system.
- There is currently
only one Unification Plus(+) Center nationwide in Incheon. The
Ministry plans to establish more centers in Jeolla and Gangwon
provinces and expand unification education programs based on
discussion and experience.
• It will strengthen
cooperation with relevant organizations to build the consensus on
unification based on participation and experience.
will actively carry out public diplomacy for unification by holding an
international forum and track 1.5 strategic dialogue on the occasion
of the 30th anniversary of the two Koreas simultaneously obtaining
membership to the United Nations and the signing of the Inter-Korean
Basic Agreement and the 50th anniversary of inter-Korean dialogue.
● The Ministry will do its best to improve inter-Korean
relations and further the progress in the peace process, and realize
peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.