Unification Minister Criticizes Supporters of North Korea’s War Rhetoric in Seoul

SEOUL — Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho on Wednesday issued a strong rebuke against some South Koreans who have expressed support for North Korea's perspective on war, labeling them as possessing an "anti-state" mindset detrimental to the Republic of Korea's foundation. During the premiere of "Beyond Utopia," a U.S. documentary about North Korean defectors, Kim voiced his concerns.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the controversy arose from a forum held last week at the National Assembly, where certain liberal experts reportedly showed openness to North Korea's war narrative as a pathway to peace. The minister criticized these views as being influenced by North Korean propaganda, undermining South Korea's achievements and national identity. He argued that such positions, framed under academic freedom, are intolerable due to their potential harm to the state's integrity.

The minister's comments also extended to North Korea's recent actions, including provocative weapons tests and aggressive statements. At a recent parliamentary session, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pushed for constitutional amendments to designate South Korea as its principal enemy and to pledge the complete occupation of South Korean territory in case of conflict. Kim Yung-ho condemned these moves as political provocations aimed at dividing South Korean society and emphasized the need for unity against North Korea's deceit and propaganda.

The screening of "Beyond Utopia," directed by Madeleine Gavin, highlighted the plight of North Korean defectors. The film depicts the perilous escape of defector families from North Korea to South Korea before the COVID-19 pandemic, with efforts led by South Korean pastor Kim Sung-eun, who has aided over a thousand defectors in the last 23 years. Following the screening, Minister Kim remarked on North Korea's disregard for its citizens' welfare amidst extensive investment in weapons development, linking the regime's human rights abuses directly to its nuclear and missile ambitions.

Pastor Kim, advocating for human rights, pointed to the significant number of North Koreans who have defected to South Korea as evidence of the severe conditions under the North Korean regime. He expressed hope that the documentary would underscore the value of freedom and the importance of protecting it while sharing the hardships faced by North Korean defectors.

scroll to top