North Korea dismantles monument symbolizing unity with South
North Korea has dismantled a significant monument in its capital, once emblematic of reconciliation goals with South Korea, following directives from leader Kim Jong Un.
Last week, Kim labeled South Korea a "primary foe," dismissing the possibility of unification. Satellite images from Pyongyang on Tuesday revealed the absence of the monument, an arch representing Korean reunification aspirations, completed after the 2000 inter-Korean summit, as reported by NK News, an online platform monitoring North Korean activities.
Reuters has not independently verified the demolition of the monument, informally known as the Arch of Reunification. In a speech to the Supreme People's Assembly on January 15, Kim denounced the monument as an "eyesore" and called for constitutional amendments to declare the South as a "primary foe and invariable principal enemy," state media reported.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated due to increased military activities by South Korean and U.S. forces, responding to North Korea's weapons tests. The North has declared its readiness for a "nuclear war" against its adversaries.
The arch, officially titled the Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification, stood 30 meters high. It symbolized the three charters of self-reliance, peace, and national cooperation, as per South Korean government records.
When questioned about North Korea's stance on conflict with the South, White House spokesperson John Kirby stated on Tuesday, "We're watching this very, very closely." He affirmed confidence in the U.S. defensive posture on the peninsula as suitable for the current risk level.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who assumed office in 2022, has adopted a firm stance against the North, advocating for immediate and robust responses to North Korea's military provocations. These actions have heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea has threatened to "wipe out" South Korea in case of an attack by South Korean and U.S. forces. Last year, the North declared a 2018 agreement with the South, aimed at reducing military tensions, null and void.
Following Kim's recent speech, North Korea's assembly dissolved key government agencies that had been pivotal in decades-long exchanges with Seoul.