President Park Geun-hye said Monday that she would launch a presidential preparation committee for the unification of two Koreas on Tuesday, gearing up her unification drive that lost steam due to the Sewol disaster and continued threats from North Korea.
“We will make an announcement tomorrow and start working actively,” Park said during a meeting with senior secretaries at Cheong Wa Dae. “With the launch of the unification preparatory committee, (the government) will raise the people’s attention toward unification and discuss measures to open an era for unified (Koreas),” she said.
|President Park Geun-hye|
Park outlined the plan in a speech marking the first anniversary of her administration in February, stressing a need to build public consensus and create a blueprint for a unified peninsula. The plans were released shortly after she referred to the unification an “economic bonanza” in January. Park believes that the reunification of the two Koreas will provide great economic opportunities for the Korean Peninsula and the neighboring countries.
Despite her ambitious drive, the launch of the committee has been put on hold due to the ferry tragedy in April and North Korea’s military provocations. Pyongyang on Monday fired about 100 artillery shells into the East Sea near the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean maritime border.
The envisioned committee will be headed by the president herself. On Tuesday, Park is expected to announce the names of the two vice chairs, each from the public and the private sector. According to reports and sources, Park is likely to name Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae a vice head of the committee. Former Unification Minister Kang In-duk and Asan Institute for Policy Studies chairwoman Lee In-ho are also being considered as candidates for the other vice-chair post, they said.
The list of about 70 committee members are also anticipated to be released on the same day. The president said earlier that she would invite civilian experts and civic groups covering diplomacy, security, economy, society and culture to embrace public opinion.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)