– 2023 Ministry of Unification Work Plan –
January 27, 2023
□ On January 27, Unification Minister Kwon Youngse reported to the
President on the 2023 Work Plan of the Ministry of Unification (MOU)
jointly with the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the Ministry of
Patriots and Veterans Affairs, and the Ministry of Personnel
Management at the Blue House.
o Under the slogan, “Reliable welfare system for patriots and
veterans, a safer country for the people, and united efforts for
unification,” the Work Plan was joined by 159 participants, including
10 people in the field of unification, along with officials from the
Office of the President, the Office of the Prime Minister, the
Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the Ministry of Patriots and
Veterans Affairs, and the Ministry of Personnel Management.
o Following the work plan, panel discussions were held on the future
of unification. People of the younger generation and a German citizen
who experienced unified Germany enjoyed active discussions on the
necessity and feasibility of unification and preparations for a
□ Unification Minister Kwon Youngse proposed the major directions
for unification work in 2023, - “establishing inter-Korean relations
based on democratic order” and “preparing for a unified future,”- and
announced the Ministry’s seven main tasks.
o In particular, Minister Kwon Youngse promised the Ministry’s
unwavering efforts to pursue a denuclearized, peaceful, and prosperous
Korean Peninsula in the face of challenging outlook in inter-Korean relations.
□ The Ministry of Unification presented the following seven main tasks.
□ First, the Ministry will proceed to fully implement the
o The Ministry will strengthen the comprehensive approach of
Deterrence, Dissuasion, and Dialogue (3Ds) on North Korea's
denuclearization, which has been maintained since the inauguration of
the Yoon Suk Yeol government while bringing North Korea into dialogue.
- Based on the solid ROK–U.S. alliance, the Ministry will deter
North Korea’s provocations, and make overwhelming and immediate
response in case of provocations. In addition, the Ministry will
dissuade North Korea from nuclear development by reinforcing the
implementation of sanctions and pushing ahead with unilateral sanctions.
- At the same time, the Ministry will continue to make efforts to
create an environment to induce North Korea to engage in dialogue.
o To accelerate implementing the Audacious Initiative, the Ministry
will flesh out corresponding measures in the political, military, and
economic fields in accordance with issues of North Korea’s interest,
thus, a prompt implementation is possible once North Korea responds.
o The Ministry will continue to boost partnership and support from
at home and abroad for the Audacious Initiative in coordination with
related organizations, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the
Peaceful Unification Advisory Council.
□ Second, the Ministry will promote normalizing inter-Korean relations.
o As a breakthrough in the currently strained inter-Korean
relations, the Ministry will seek direct and indirect contacts with
North Korea through private and international organizations.
- Along with social and cultural exchanges to restore ethnic
homogeneity, the Ministry will seek cooperation in the field of
environment including fighting climate change as part of “green détente.”
- When inter-Korean dialogue resumes, the Ministry will prioritize
addressing human rights violations and relieving pain caused by
division, such as reunions, repatriation, and confirming the
whereabouts of separated families, prisoners of war (POWs), detainees,
o The Ministry will institute a systematic framework for each
sector’s high-level and working-level consultation and implementation
between the South and the North.
- The Ministry will form ‘Implementation and Review Committee for
Inter-Korean Agreement’ to secure support from international
organizations including the United Nations to ensure that what has
been agreed upon, the two Koreas will be put into action.
- Meanwhile, the Ministry will create an exchange and cooperation
system based on laws and principles, to ensure personal safety and
guarantee investment when conducting exchange and cooperation
activities with North Korea.
□ Third, the Ministry will strive to promote North Korean human rights.
o The Ministry will actively work with the National Assembly to
launch the North Korean Human Rights Foundation, a public–private
cooperative platform to improve North Korean human rights. Until the
Foundation is established, the Ministry will perform the role of the
Foundation* to realize the purpose of the North Korean Human Rights Act.
* The Ministry of Unification supports private organizations’
activities to promote North Korean human rights at an annual amount of
2 billion KRW, and has formed the ‘North Korean Human Rights
Foundation Preparatory Committee’ (tentative name) to gather advice on
- The Ministry will publish an annual report on status of human
rights in North Korea, in both Korean and English, to make the public
aware of the reality of human rights in North Korea at home and abroad.
- Considering that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the UN
Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea and the 20th
anniversary of the UN Resolution on Human Rights in North Korea, the
Ministry will enhance solidarity with the international community,
including governments of relevant countries, international
organizations, and civil societies, to promote human rights in North Korea.
o In order to uphold the human rights of North Korean residents in a
practical manner, the Ministry will maintain a consistent position
that humanitarian aid must be considered regardless of political or
- The Ministry will promote humanitarian cooperation in areas that
are in urgent need, and possible to cooperate - health care
cooperation to support vulnerable groups including infants and
children, and cooperation in food and disaster.
□ Fourth, the Ministry will develop a blueprint and strategies
for a unified future.
o As a mid- to long-term framework for peace and prosperity on the
Korean Peninsula, the Ministry will bring forth a new initiative for a
【New Future Initiative on Unification (tentative name)】
Formulate a mid- to long-term initiative for inter-Korean relations
and international cooperation to take the lead in preparing for a
- Realize peace and prosperity on the Korean
peninsula, establish the foundation for free and democratic
unification, and secure support from the people and the international
community based on the extensive opinions from home and abroad.
Strive to develop detailed measures during the first half of 2023, and
release the final version within the year
- The Ministry will present a vision and direction for peaceful
unification based on the basic free and democratic order through
realizing universal values encompassing freedom, human rights,
communication, and openness. Within the first half of 2023, the
Ministry will garner opinions of public and expert and announce the
final version by the end of this year.
o Reflecting the changes in the international situation and
inter-Korean dynamics, the Ministry will improve the National
Community Unification Formulas by 2024, on its 30th anniversary.
o The Ministry will establish the Unification Future Planning
Committee, a public–private collaborative platform centered on various
experts to play a central role in developing policies for a unified
future and in spreading consensus at home and abroad.
【The Unification Future Planning Committee】
- A private
advisory body comprised of about 10 gurus under the Minister of
Unification that develops discourse on a unified future, proposes
policies, and promotes its initiatives at home and abroad.
Operates with four strategic groups for each sector of politics,
military, economy, humanitarian and human rights, and international cooperation.
□ Fifth, the Ministry will reorganize the support system to meet
the needs of North Korean defectors.
o The Ministry will make innovative adjustment in related
organizations to better focus on retraining and resettlement to serve
the needs of North Korean defectors.
- The Ministry will provide places with better accessibility in
areas where there is a large population of North Korean defectors and
institute essential retraining and resettlement support tailored to
- Centering on Korea Hana Foundation, the Ministry will unify the
local service system and concentrate on key areas including support
for education, jobs, and vulnerable groups.
【Retraining and Resettlement curriculum of the Settlement Support
Center for North Korean Refugees (Hanawon)】
- Operate retraining
and resettlement program to help North Korean defectors settle in the
South Korean society.
- Provide vocational training opportunity
and financial incentives to encourage graduates to get a decent and
o The Ministry will lay out a systematic risk management system to
preemptively respond to North Korean defectors in vulnerable situations.
- The Ministry will directly monitor on a regular basis about 1,200
North Korean defectors who are at risk of failing to receive welfare
services and create a customized trauma treatment system, thereby
assisting in creating social network for North Korean defectors.
【Establish trauma treatment system and strengthen social
- Establish a mental health support center with
psychiatric specialists at Hanawon and connect those who need medical
service to relevant institutions for corresponding symptoms
For mild cases, counseling will be provided at diverse local
- For severe cases, medical expense of 7 million KRW
will be supported by the Korea Hana Foundation for specialized medical
- Ensures emotional support for North Korean defectors
through their local communities and social network.
volunteer activities at local level and help operate a place for
communication in areas with large population of North Korean defectors.
□ Sixth, the Ministry will establish a perspective on
unification and North Korea based on the basic free and democratic order.
o The Ministry will strengthen unification education based on
- The Ministry will reflect the Constitutional value of “peaceful
unification based on the basic free and democratic order” in
educational content, and expand lectures and education delivered by
North Korean defectors to spread North Korea’s reality at home and abroad.
- The Ministry will establish a hub for unification education in
regional areas together with schools and designated areas in the
community, and develop digital unification education platforms and
contents, including metaverse that younger generations are acquainted with.
【Plan to establish a hub for unification education】
joint projects among unification education institutions and other
relevant organizations and promote active engagement through
unification-related events including seminars, competitions, and
- Develop ways to further collaborate with social and
religious organizations to invite them as a regional partner in
o The Ministry will create synergies by organizing the Unification
Education Week and various unification cultural events in May, and
raise awareness of peaceful unification through by holding talk
sessions with younger generations.
- In addition, the Ministry will hold unification cultural events
abroad in collaboration with overseas Korean communities.
o The Ministry will expand the scope of North Korea’s data and offer
convenience in accessing the data. Unification Information Resource
Center will open in September 2023 in Goyang and this center will
serve as a cultural complex of library and history museum on North
Korea and unification
- The Ministry will flesh out types of North Korean media including
newspapers and broadcast, and the scope and method of disclosure on
its contents. Based on consultation with relevant ministries, the
Ministry will disclose the Rodong Sinmun on a trial basis.
□ Lastly, the Ministry will reinforce domestic and international
capabilities and foundation for unification.
o The Ministry will ensure that private donations from national
donors be accumulated and used.
- Under the current system, it is difficult for an elderly displaced
person to deposit in Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund donations for his
or her hometown in the North. The Ministry will revise Inter-Korean
Cooperation Fund Act to ensure the funds be accumulated and used as
intended by donors.
【Amendment of Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund Act】
system) Private donations are added to the government fund rather than
being classified separately. The unused amount of the year is
transferred to the government fund of the following year, unfulfilling
the intentions of the donors.
- (Direction for revision) The
Ministry will establish a separate account for private donations
within the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund where donors can deposit and
accumulate their contributions. The improved system will reflect the
donors’ intentions as much as possible in spending the deposited
donations at a desired time with purposes.
o Centering around the first regional Unification+ Center which is
to be opened in September 2023 in Mokpo, the Ministry will provide
comprehensive administrative services of unification by integrating
local infrastructure related to unification including Regional
Unification Hall, and Hana Center.
* The Ministry plans to establish Unification+ Center in six regions
across the nation every year by 2026.
【Plans to promote Unification+ Center】
Unification+ Center by region, promote integration of local
infrastructure related to unification.
o Starting with the
opening of the center in Honam area in 2023, the Ministry plans to
establish centers in Gangwon, Gyeonggi, Chungcheong, Yeongnam, and
Jeju by 2026.
* (2018) Incheon *pilot project → (2023) Honam →
(2024-25) Gangwon, Gyeonggi, Chungcheong → (2026) Yeongnam, Jeju
o The Ministry plans to collect opinions from various players in the
society including communities of North Korean defectors and local
governments to come up with the best measures on integrating and
connecting local unification infrastructure.
(13 locations) : Operate experiential exhibition programs for
*Hana Center (25 locations) : Provide
community-oriented services for North Korean defectors to adapt to
o The Ministry will focus on the cases of unification and
integration including those of Germany, EU, and Vietnam to reflect
them in policy making. Korea Global Forum will be held in Seoul on the
70th anniversary of the armistice to enhance interest and garner
support of the international community on unification.
【Case studies on unification and integration】
intensive research on policy cases of ASEAN and EU countries including
Germany and Vietnam to reflect them in development of unification and
North Korea policies.
- In addition to organizing Korea-Germany
Unification Advisory Committee, the Ministry will promote cooperation
to share historical experiences in the post-unification process of
reform and opening in Vietnam.
o Launch cooperation program
between Ministry of Unification and Vietnam as the flagship project
- Establish cooperative relations with local research
institutes in Vietnam to develop ‘Archives of integration and reform
& opening-up cases in Vietnam’ and operate ‘ROK-Vietnam Advisory
Committee on Reform and Opening-up’.
- Promote identification,
collection and research of Vietnam’s data on policies related to
international investment, financial support, education, and
o Take the lead in developing a comprehensive summary of
case studies on unification and integration for each country and
- Integrate existing case studies to develop them at a
more systematized level, disclose and disseminate related data.
- Continue to identify areas in need of further research, conduct
systematic research under mid- to long-term plans.
- Establish a
collaborative system with relevant (research) institutions at home and
abroad and promote efficient division of roles.
- Establish a
system to develop unification and North Korea policies actively
reflecting outcomes of case studies on unification and integration,
enhance the specificity and acceptability of the policies.
□ "Denuclearized, peaceful, and prosperous Korean
Peninsula" requires united will and strength. In 2023, the
Ministry of Unification will make unwavering efforts with the people
of Korea toward a unified Korea in the future. //The End//