SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in her first New Year's press conference in early January that she will push to lay ground for peaceful reunification during her five-year tenure, describing the future reunification with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as "bonanza."
The bonanza became a buzzword on many headlines of local news organizations and served to raise public awareness on the need for the reunification.
Ministries in charge of unification, foreign affairs and national defense made annual policy reports on Thursday to President Park at the headquarters of the Defense Ministry to materialize the bonanza project with coordinated DPRK policies. It was the first joint briefing in four years of the three ministries.
The Unification Ministry said in its report that it will expand non-political exchanges between the two Koreas this year to recover homogeneity among Koreans who have lived away from each other for six decades as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice, not a peace treaty.
The report titled "Laying ground for reunification era on the Korean Peninsula" said that Seoul will provide breed, seed and farm tools with Pyongyang this year to restart cooperation in agricultural and livestock sectors. Such aid will be offered under close consultation with foreign non-governmental organizations ( NGO).
South Korea's agricultural aid to the DPRK was suspended under the previous Lee Myung-bak administration from 2007 to 2011 amid the worsened inter-Korean relations. From 1999 to 2007, Seoul sent a total of 2,555,000 tons of fertilizer to Pyongyang, while offering seeds and pesticides to the DPRK.
To expand social and cultural exchanges, South Korea planned to push ahead with various projects in sports, arts and youth areas, while pursuing joint excavation of historical remains buried in the DPRK and joint exhibition of cultural heritage.
To raise awareness of reunification among South Koreans, the ministry will encourage education on the need for peaceful reunification, while publicizing its reunification policy to the public.
The push for reunification will be carried out based on firm security and close cooperation with the United States and China.
The Foreign Ministry reported to President Park that it will upgrade its comprehensive strategic cooperation with the United States this year to deter possible provocation from the DPRK and induce its northern neighbor to discard its nuclear arms program.
The ministry will seek summit diplomacy between the two allies this year, while pushing for dialogue between top foreign diplomats and the so-called two-plus-two talks among foreign and defense ministers.
Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se already agreed with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry to deepen consultations on the DPRK issue during his trip to Washington on Jan. 7. Since then, deputy U.S. Secretary of State William Burns visited Seoul on Jan. 21 before assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel's travel to South Korea on Jan. 26.
Kerry was expected to visit Seoul within this month, and Seoul and Washington were reportedly pushing for U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to South Korea in April.
While deepening its alliance with the United States further, South Korea planned to strengthen its comprehensive strategic partnership with China by holding talks between high-ranking diplomatic officials and seeking Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Seoul within this year.
The foreign ministry re-confirmed its diplomatic strategy of using both pressure and dialogue to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, naming it as PETA, or principled and effective two- track approach.
The PETA sought to secure firmer cooperation from China and Russia to deny the DPRK as a nuclear power, while pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program by seeking principled denuclearization talks and calling for the DPRK's sincere action toward denuclearization.
Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry said in its annual report that it will apply a new deterrence strategy to this year's joint military exercises with the United States to enhance deterrence capabilities against the DPRK's nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
In October last year, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan- jin and his U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel signed a new defense strategy called "Tailored Deterrence Strategy" against possible nuclear threats from the DPRK.
The strategy outlined tailored deterrence against three possible scenarios of the DPRK's nuclear threats, including threatening, impending usage and usage of nuclear weapons, by mobilizing both diplomatic and military tools.
The new deterrence guideline will be applied to the scheduled joint military drills between Seoul and Washington, including the "Key Resolve" command post exercise and the "Foal Eagle" field training drill that will run from late February to April as well as the Ulchi Freedom Guardian command and control exercise slated for August.
The scheduled joint military exercises between the two allies were feared to act as an obstacle to improve inter-Korean relations.
The DPRK's National Defense Commission said Thursday that it may review whether to hold the agreed reunion of separated families, citing the military exercises. The DPRK's top military body urged South Korea to cancel the joint drills, saying that dialogue and the rehearsal for war of aggression can never be compatible.
Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to stage reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War from Feb. 20 to 25 at the DPRK 's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang. If it is to be held, it would be the first reunion in more than three years.
The commission also slammed the U.S. Air Force's nuclear- capable B-52 bomber sent to the Korean Peninsula on Wednesday when the two Koreas held talks and agreed to the family reunion. A South Korean military official said that one B-52 bomber made a sortie to the South Korean western seas Wednesday for the training purpose.
The B-52 bomber, which was sent to the Korean Peninsula during last year's joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington, served as an American nuclear umbrella for South Korea as it can fly more than 6,400 km with air-to-land nuclear missiles loaded.
SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korea planned to expand non- political exchanges with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) this year in a bid to brace for future reunification,the ministry in charge of inter-Korean relations said Thursday. Full story
SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People' s Republic of Korea (DPRK) began working-level contact at the border village of Panmunjeom on Wednesday to sort out details on the agreed reunion of separated families. Full story
SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People 's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Monday to hold working-level talks between Red Cross officials this week to sort out details on the agreed family reunion. Full story