April 14, 2024
Analysis

Why North Korea declared unification ‘impossible,’ abandoning decades-old goal

Kim Jong Un calls Koreas separate states at war, in what experts say is major shift from viewing South as compatriots

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended 2023 with a milestone announcement that his party has concluded reunification is realistically “impossible” and that the two Koreas are separate “belligerent states” at war. 

Experts told NK News that this is the first time Pyongyang has explicitly dropped unification as a goal of its inter-Korean policy in decades, and they described Kim’s call for the military to prepare to “subjugate” South Korea as fundamentally different from past threats — defining the ROK as a foreign nation to conquer, not a compatriot to win over. 

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