NewsNorth Korea's symbol of reunification demolished as Kim Jong Un declares it a 'bygone era'

North Korea's symbol of reunification demolished as Kim Jong Un declares it a 'bygone era'

North Korea's symbol of reunification demolished as Kim Jong Un declares it a 'bygone era'
Images source: © GETTY | SOPA Images

3:47 AM EST, January 24, 2024

NK News, a Seoul-based outlet specializing in monitoring North Korean situations, drew its conclusions based on a "medium-resolution satellite photo taken on Tuesday morning". Nevertheless, it stressed that it is unclear when and how the structure was dismantled.

The monument is still shown in the photographs from January 19th, and "it could have been demolished before January 22nd, but the image that day was cloudy". These reports haven't been independently confirmed by other agencies yet.

Kim Jong Un identifies the "main enemy"

In his speech to the Supreme People's Assembly on January 15, Kim Jong Un called for the constitution to recognize South Korea as the "main enemy" and for specific terms such as "peaceful reunification" to be eliminated from the fundamental law.

He further discussed the necessity of taking down "remnants of a bygone era", which included the Arch of Reunification in Pyongyang - an eyesore for him. This monument commemorates the unification proposals for Korea presented by his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea.

The monument, 98 feet high and 202 feet wide, was located on T'ongil (Reunification) Street, on the road from Pyongyang to Kaesong and beyond to South Korea. Completed in 2001, the monument depicted two women, one from North Korea and the other from South Korea, supporting an emblem with the outline of the entire Korean Peninsula.

The current relationship between the two Koreas is at its lowest point in decades. In late 2023, North Korea declared a crucial agreement signed with Seoul in 2018 to de-escalate military tensions null and void.

Following Kim's speech the past week, the authorities in Pyongyang liquidated government agencies that played a pivotal role in decades of cooperation with their southern neighbor. Kim also instructed an acceleration of military preparations for a "war that could start at any moment".

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