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Brief history


July 24, 1968
Revision to the Government Organization Act on the Creation of the National Unification Board (Law No. 2,041) promulated
Jan 29, 1969
Bill drawn up on the Organization of the National Unification Board (Presidential Decree 3754)
Feb 20, 1969
Preparations began for the opening of the board's temporary office in Annex 2 to Government Complex Building in Seoul
March 1, 1969
The National Unification Board opened; Research and publicity were its major functions
May 12, 1969
An advisory committee established (36 members appointed)


April 3, 1970
The National Unification Board Advisory Committee renamed the Elders' Council of the Board
April 22, 1972
Unification Training Center Bill enacted (Presidential Decree 6158)
May 1, 1972
Training Center opened
March 14, 1975
Peace and Unification Institute established (disbanded Jan 8, 1981)


Oct 20, 1980
Bill legislated on the establshment of South-North Dialogue Secretariat (Presidential decree 10049); The board took over the secretariat from the National Security Agency and opened it under its wing.
Nov 2, 1981
With the abolishment of policy planning bureau of the board, policy planning functions were transferred to policy research division of the secretariat.
Oct 18, 1986
North Korea Center opened (It closed Feb 1, 1997)
Dec 26, 1986
Unification Training Center renamed Unification Training Institute
May 22, 1989
North Korea Data Center opened (on the 6th floor of Kwanghwamun Post Office Building)
July 24, 1989
Unification Policy Office created (Policy making functions moved from South-North Dialogue Secretariat to Unification Policy Office)


May 10, 1990
Press Room established (on the 5th floor of Government Complex Building 1)
Aug 1, 1990
South-North Exchanges and Cooperation Bill enacted (Law 4,239) South-North Cooperation Fund Bill enacted (Law 4,240)
  • Council created to promote South-North exchanges and cooperation (President: Minister)
National Unification Research Institute Bill enacted (Law 4,241)
Nov 14, 1990
Post of envoy created to the Korean embassy in Germany
Dec 27, 1990
The Korean name of the board changed, but its English name left as it was. Status raised to the level as a Vice Prime Ministerial ministry. The board authorized to coordinate policy-related ministries.
March 23, 1991
First meeting of unification-related ministers held (President: Minister of Unification)
April 9, 1991
Korea Institute for National Unification unveiled
Oct 30, 1992
Secretariat of South-North Dialogue renamed Office for South-North Dialogue
Jan 23, 1995
KEDO LWR Project Support Group inaugurated
Jan 15, 1996
First issue of its bulletin, ‘Sejongro 4th Floor,’ published
June 29, 1996
Posts of envoys to Korean embassies in the United States, Japan and China created
Nov 13, 1996
Construction began for the House of Freedom in the truce village of Panmunjom
Dec 10, 1996
The homepage of the Ministry of Unification opened
Dec 17, 1996
Humanitarian Affairs Bureau created; the Education Center for Unification renamed the Institute of Political Education for Unification (Education and Public Information Bureaus integrated)
Jan 13, 1997
A bill to protect dislocated North Koreans and support their settlement passed and promulgated (Effective July 14, 1997)
  • A consultative council to deal with dislocated North Koreans was established. Vice Minister of the unification board presided over the council.
Aug 19, 1997
Ground broken for the site where to build nuclear power plants under the KEDO deal
Dec 30, 1997
Construction began for facilities to accomodate dislocated North Koreans (Construction scheduled to be complete by June 1999)
Feb 28, 1998
Under the government reorganization program, the National Unification Board was renamed the Ministry of Unification (MOU).
  • The secretariat office of the Advisory Council on Democratice and Peaceful Unification was scaled back to an MOU-affiliated agency (the secretariat bureau of the council).
June 30, 1998
The House of Freedom in Panmunjom dedicated
Dec 18, 1998
The ministry received presidential Prize as the best secured government agency in 1998.
Dec 22, 1998
The ministry won presidential prize as the best public service agency in 1998.
Jan 29, 1999
Under a law on the establishment, operation and development of government- invested research institutes (law 5,733), the Korea Institute for National Unification Act was abolished.
  • The Korea Institute for National Unification was reengineered. Its Korean name was changed, but its English name kept intact. The Prime Minister's Office made investment in the institute.
Feb 5, 1999
A bill on the support for education in unification was enacted (Law 5,752) and took effect (Aug 6, 1999).
May 24, 1999
Information Analysis Office was reorganized into Information Analysis Bureau. An office to support the settlement of dislocated North Koreans was established. The secretariat office of the Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification was separated from the ministry and stood on its own.
July 8, 1999
Settlement Support Office for Dislocated North Koreans was established in Ansung


April 24, 2001
Two divisions, one for separated families and the other for dialogue, were added, and 15 staff workers were recruited.
July 8, 2002
The construction of a new building for the Settlement Support Office for North Korean Refugees began.
Oct 4, 2002
"Settlement Counseling Division" in Settlement Support Office for Dislocated North Koreans is newly added and 14 staff workers are recruited.
Nov 20, 2003
Opened the Inter-Korean Transit Office (Presidential decree 18131)
Jan 29, 2004
Revised and promulgated the organization of the Ministry of Unification and its offices(Presidential decree 18251)Consolidated the economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, and the related functions of South and North Korea.Humanitarian Assistance Bureau changed its name into Social & Cultural Exchange Bureau.
May 25, 2004
Renamed the Center on North Korea into the Unification Center
Apr. 15, 2005
Revised and promulgated presidential decree 18786 on the organization of the Ministry of Unification and its affiliated agencies Reshuffled the Planning and Management Office into the Office for Policy and Public Relations putting a greater emphasis on public relations
Sep. 5, 2005
Created the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Consultation Office
Jan. 26, 2006
Created the General Transit Division under the Inter-Korean Transit Office, the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Division ??(responsible for examination of strategic material) under the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Bureau and the Assistance Cooperation Division ??(responsible for development cooperation) under the Social and Cultural Exchanges Bureau
Aug. 24, 2006
Increased the number of staff responsible for establishing basic plans and effectuating related agreements following the enactment of the Inter-Korean Relations Development Act Introduced a "team & headquarters" system
Feb. 28, 2007
Increased the number of staff responsible for inter-Korean economic cooperation Created the Unification Archives & Information Service Team
Jul. 2, 2007
Extended the term of Gaeseong Industrial Complex Project Bureau by one year
Nov. 2, 2007
Created the Bureau for Compensation & Assistance to Persons Abducted to North Korea following the enforcement of the law on providing compensation and assistance to people abducted by North Korea
Feb. 29, 2008
Downsized the organizational structure of the Ministry of Unification following the restructuring of the government organizations, thereby weakening its functions in information analysis and economic cooperation Reduced the organization from five headquarters, two bureaus and five affiliated agencies to one office, three bureaus, one special bureau for GIC project and five affiliated agencies
May. 25, 2009
Revised the organizational structure of the Ministry. The Unification Policy Bureau was renamed to Unification Policy Office, expanding its size and scope. Created the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau
Oct. 5, 2009
Created Inter-Korean Cooperation District Support Directorate.


Jan. 24, 2011
The North Korean Refugees Foundation was designated a quasi-governmental organization under the Ministry of Unification.
Jan. 31, 2011
The South-North Korea Exchange and Cooperation Support Association was designated a quasi-governmental organization under the Ministry of Unification.
May. 23, 2012
Unification attaches were posted in Germany and Russia.
Oct 5, 2013
The Inter-Korean Cooperation District Support Directorate was renamed the Inter-Korean Cooperation District Policy Planning Directorate
Nov 14, 2013
The Office of South-North Joint Committee for the GIC was established.
Aug 27, 2014
The Center for Unified Future of Korea was newly established.
Jan 7, 2015
The Cultural Affairs Division and Humanitarian Development Cooperation Division within the Unification Ministry were created. The Intelligence Management Division was abolished.
Sep 23, 2016
The Inter-Korean Community Building Bureau, Peace Policy Division, Director for Press Relations, and Center for North Korean Human Rights Documentation and Research were established.
Sep 29, 2017
The Inter-Korean Community Building Bureau was reorganized as the Humanitarian Cooperation Bureau.
Sep 14, 2018
Inter-Korean Joint Liaison Office was abolished.


Feb 2, 2020
Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Bureau was reorganized as the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Office