Seoul is secretly preparing for unification by absorption, in addition to the official unification agenda by agreement, a high ranking official of the unification committee said on March 10.
Unification by absorption typically refers to a scenario in which one Korea collapses, leaving the other half to absorb the governmental structures into its own.
“Absorption unification isn’t something that can’t happen just because you don’t want it to,” Chung Chong-wook, vice chairman of the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation was reported as saying at a breakfast forum on Tuesday.
“There are a variety of road maps for unification and our (committee) has a team preparing for unification without agreement or regime unification,” he said.”The committee is an organization established for peaceful unification but we are also working on (the other possibilities) on the premise of secrecy.”
Seoul also has a concrete plan for the North Korean elite in case of unification by regime absorption, Chung said.
“There are a considerable number of elite in North Korea,” he said. “Since they have various statuses, they should be dealt with according to each’s status (after unification).”
The Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation denied the existence of a team for unification by absorption.
“It is not true at all that there is a team for unification by absorption,” the committee’s press release on Wednesday said. “The government is pursuing peaceful unification by agreement” it continues.
However, a progressive non-governmental organization condemned the vice chairman’s remark and announced its withdrawal from the advisory board for the committee after local media reported his statement.
“Preparing for unification by absorption is a unilateral and warlike idea which goes against most citizens’ expectations,” the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice said in its statement released on Wednesday. “Even if it was a hypothetical preparation, it should have stayed within internal discussions. Such a public remark is not advisable at all for inter-Korean relations and peace of the Korean peninsula.”
“In spite of our expectation, the committee has been focusing on closed-door discussions with those who are willing to compromise their opinion on the government’s view,” the organization said. “We decided to withdraw from the advisory board for the committee”.
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