Peaceful Reunification if the Only Way

D-Bo , March 12, 2015, 10:40 a.m.

A peaceful unification based on consensus is the only way sought by South Korea to reunify with the North, an official said Thursday, disavowing his earlier remarks indicating Seoul's push for forced unification.

Chung Chong-wook, a vice chairman of the presidential committee tasked with preparing for possible unification with North Korea, came under fire after saying in a local speech earlier this week that under the wing of the committee is a separate team preparing for reunification by absorption.

His comments sharply run counter to the government's long-held position that it ruled out a unilateral absorption of the North Korean regime as a way of reunification.  Referring to Tuesday's remarks, Chung said, "There exists no preparation team for unification by absorption within the committee," during a key note speech at a local forum.

"Our government is pursuing a peaceful reunification, not unification through absorption unilaterally by either the South or the North," the vice chairman said, reaffirming the government stance.  "(The committee) has reviewed various road maps, but it has determined that a peaceful reunification is the only alternative in ending the division and going forward (with the North) to a new future," he also noted.

Such a peaceful reunification cannot be achieved alone either by the South or the North, Chung said, adding that only through dialogue and more cooperation based on mutual trust can the reunification be accomplished.  Economic development of the communist country is also crucial in cutting an expected huge cost of a potential reunification, the vice chairman also said.

As part of President Park Geun-hye's signature policy vision for reunification of two Koreas, South Korea launched the 50-member committee in July last year, which includes the unification minister, foreign minister, five other ministers, the heads of state-run think tanks and 30 private experts. Park is the chairman of the panel.

Earlier last year in Dresden, Germany, Park unveiled her vision to lay the groundwork for a future unification of two Koreas which technically remain at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce.  Later the North bitterly criticized the so-called Dresden Declaration, saying it is a push to reunify the countries by force.

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