South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday she will make a "preparatory committee for unification" with North Korea to map out a blueprint for how best to become one nation with the communist neighbor.
The move underscores Park's commitment to inter-Korean unification. In recent months, she has talked about unification many times, saying repeatedly that it will be an economic "bonanza" for South Korea as well as a blessing for neighboring countries too.
It also came as relations between the two Koreas have been showing signs of improvement.
"If we are going to realize genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula and a quantum jump of the Republic of Korea, it is necessary to make preparations for unification that would open up a new era of the Korean Peninsula," Park said during a nationally televised address to announce an economic innovation plan.
Germany successfully realized unification as it made preparations one by one, she said.
"I will do my best to lay the cornerstone and realize unification of the Korean Peninsula without fail," she said. "To this end, I will launch the unification preparatory committee under direct control of the president to study systematic and constructive directions of unification."
Park also said she will expand dialogue and civilian exchanges with the North.
Relations between the two Koreas have shown signs of improving in recent months after suffering from high tensions last year following North Korea's nuclear tests and strong war threats against the South and the United States.
Earlier this month, the two sides held their first high-level talks in seven years and reached a final agreement to hold reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War and work together for better relations.
The family reunions have been under way since last week at North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort, allowing hundreds of people from the two sides to meet their long-lost relatives for the first time since the Korean War.
The war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula still technically in a state of conflict. (Yonhap)