The 18th anniversary of the declaration and related monuments in Pyongyang
This blog was originally published on 15 June 2017 for 'Turn Back the Clock Thursday' - views of Korea from more than two decades of Koryo Tours' trips to the DPRK and images in the public domain. Updated 15 June 2018.
Today is the 18th anniversary of the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration from the first Inter-Korean Summit of 2000 (see here for a video of the summit). The two-day summit saw the first direct meeting for the leaders of North and South Korea, then Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il and President Kim Dae Jung, respectively. The summit and resulting declaration provided a framework for future reunification and addressing long-standing issues between the two Korean governments. The declaration called for peaceful reunification in a confederation or federal system by peaceful means, the humanitarian meeting of separated families and release of long-term unconverted prisoners, as well as for mutual dialogue and exchanges.
In south Pyongyang there are two monuments related to the 2000 declaration: The Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification and the Ri In Mo Monument.
The Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, or the Arch of Reunification is a stone arch straddling the the Pyongyang-Kaesong Highway. Also known as the 'Reunification Highway', this highway extends through the DMZ and onwards to Seoul, although the Kaesong-Seoul portion of the highway is currently not open for travel. In 2007-2008, it was possible to cross the DMZ visit Kaesong on a day trip from Seoul.
The monument' is 30 meters tall and 61.5 meters wide, the numerology referring to the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration. Two identical women wearing traditional Korean dress hold the a map of a united Korea below which it says Three Charters of National Reunification for which the monument is named. The Three Charters of National Reunification (3대현장) were laid out by President Kim Il Sung and served as the basis for the northern position at the summit. These are:
2. Plan of Establishing the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo
At the base of the monument are large bronze sculptures of Koreans working towards reunification and plaques from organisations and individuals supporting this goal.
The Ri In Mo Monument commemorates the life of 'long-term unconverted' political prisoner, Ri In Mo (리인모), who spent 34 years in jail in South Korea. Ri was captured by South Korean forces during the Korean War, while serving as a war corespondent attached to the North Korean army. During captivity, Ri refused to give up his loyalty to the DPRK and was eventually repatriated to the DPRK in 1993 due to health reasons. Sixty-three other long-term converted prisoners were released and allowed to return to the DPRK in 2000 following the North-South Joint Declaration.
Ri passed away in 2007 and a bronze monument was erected in a small park on Tongil Street. The monument is a few minute walk from Pyongyang's famous Duck Barbecue Restaurant.
Please see below for two short videos on the Arch of Reunification from Korean TV:
The great majority of of Koryo Tours' group tours to Korea visit the Three Charters Monument.
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