President Yoon Suk Yeol has stressed the importance of making preparations for the unification of the two Koreas, according to the unification minister.
Minister Kwon Young-se relayed the remark made by Yoon during the ministry's New Year policy briefing held at the former presidential office of Cheongwadae on Friday. Yoon said that preparation is key to unification and that it will not come without effort.
Yoon’s remarks come after the North amped up tensions on the Korean peninsula with a string of intercontinental ballistic missile tests last year and incursions into the South’s airspace with spy drones.
The president said that it was important to properly inform the South Korean people and the international community about North Korea's politics, economy, culture and society and especially the regime's human rights situation.
According to Kwon, Yoon called on the unification ministry to play a bigger role in sharing such information, even with those in North Korea.
The president also urged support for North Korean defectors and escapees, and for the ministry to operate in a flexible manner, according to inter-Korean relations.
In the policy briefing, minister Kwon presented seven key tasks for the new year under the overarching goals of pursuing cross-border ties and preparing for unification.
He also expressed plans to seek direct and indirect contact with North Korea via civic groups and international organizations.