North Korean Reunification Monument Goes Missing—As Kim Jong Un Escalates Rivalry With Souththedigitalchaps



North Korea’s Arch of Reunification, a 100-foot tall monument built in Pyongyang to commemorate peaceful ties with the South, disappeared from the capital’s skyline sometime over the weekend, according to a report, as leader Kim Jong Un continues to escalate tensions on the peninsula.

Key Facts

After analyzing satellite images of Pyongyang, North Korea monitor NK News determined the arch was taken down sometime between January 19 and January 22.

According to NK News, Kim called the monument an “eyesore” at a January 15 meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, North Korea’s elected assembly, shortly before ordering the government to scrub references to reunification with the South.

The arch was unveiled after the 2000 inter-Korea summit, a landmark talk between Kim Jong Un’s father, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, which resulted in a joint declaration in which both countries promised to pursue reunification through peaceful means.

Key Background

While North Korea’s government continues to cut its already strained ties to South Korea, the country’s military has continued testing weapons and aggressively posturing towards a renewed war on the Korean peninsula. On January 5, the North Korean military began a massive artillery barrage near Yeonpyeong Island, firing about 200 shells near an island controlled by the South but located only a few miles from North Korea’s coastline. The shelling forced South Korea to evacuate the island’s population of about 2,000 residents. For months, North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles they claim are capable of reaching North America or Japan. On Friday, the country claimed to test an underwater nuclear drone, but the South Korean military called the claims exaggerated. North Korea also appears to be pursuing closer ties with Russia. Kim Jong Un met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a trip to the country in September 2023, the North Korean leader’s first foreign trip since the country closed its borders during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. After the meeting, North Korea reportedly delivered over 1 million artillery shells to Russia to aid in its ongoing war in Ukraine. North Korean state media has since reported that Vladimir Putin is planning to visit Pyongyang in the “foreseeable future.”

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