The Arch of Reunification ( 조국통일3대헌장기념탑), also known as the Reunification Monument, or officially known as Monument to the Three-Point Charter for National Reunification’ is a 30-metre tall arch dedicated to the reunification of the Korean Peninsula located on the southern outskirts of Pyongyang.
In January 2024 the Arch of Reunification was removed. Kim Jong Un ordered the monument’s removal at the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) session on January 15th 2024.
The Arch stretches over the Reunification Highway, which is the motorway that links Pyongyang to Kaesong and in the future potentially to Seoul in South Korea.
History of the Arch of Reunification
The Arch of Reunification was built in 2001 following the first Inter – Korean summit just a year before in 2000, between General Kim Jong Il and President Kim Dae Jung.
Constructed in 2001 it is one of Pyongyang cities newest monuments. The Arch features two Korean women (representing North and South Korea) holding a sphere bearing a map of a reunified Korea.
Meaning of the Arch of Reunification
The monument is dedicated to President Kim Il Sung’s Three-Point Charter for National Reunification which was a policy introduced by Kim Il Sung over the years beginning in 1972.
What are the Three Charters for National Reunification?
1. The Three Points of National Reunification
In May 1972 Kim Il Sung received a group of South Korean diplomats for political talks in Pyongyang and this is where the initial Three Points of National Reunification were laid out stressing that the north and the south must combine their efforts for national reunification. To this end, there should be some principles which both sides should observe:
- “First, national reunification should be achieved independently without reliance on outside forces and free from their interference.”
- “Secondly, great national unity should be promoted by transcending the differences in ideas, ideals and systems.”
- “Thirdly, national reunification should be achieved by peaceful means without resorting to arms.”
2. Plan for the Founding of the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo
At the Sixth Congress of the Workers Party of Korea in 1980 Kim Il Sung advanced a plan for founding the Democratic Confederal Republic of Koryo. He stated that the most realistic and reasonable way to reunify the country independently, peacefully and on the principle of great national unity was to draw the north and south together into a confederal state, leaving the ideas and social systems existing in the north and south as they were.
It was recommended that the new unified state of a confederal type a supreme national confederal assembly should be formed with an equal number of representatives from north and south and an appropriate number of representatives of overseas nationals and that this assembly should organize a confederal standing committee to guide the regional governments of the north and south and to administer all affairs of the confederal state.
3. Ten Point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation
On April 6th, 1982 the 10-Point Programme of the Great Unity of the Whole Nation was published and goes as follows:
1. A unified state, independent, peaceful and neutral, should be founded through the great unity of the whole nation.
2. Unity should be based on patriotism and the spirit of national independence.
3. Unity should be achieved on the principle of promoting co-existence, co-prosperity and common interests and subordinating everything to the cause of national reunification.
4. All political disputes that foment division and confrontation between fellow countrymen should be ended and unity should be achieved.
5. The fear of invasion from both south and north. and the ideas of prevailing over communism and communization should be dispelled, and north and south should believe in each other and unite.
6. The north and south should value democracy and join hands on the road to national reunification, without rejecting each other because of differences in ideals and principles.
7. The north and south should protect the material and spiritual wealth of individuals and organizations and encourage their use for the promotion of great national unity.
8. Understanding, trust and unity should be built up across the nation through contact, exchange visits and dialogue.
9. The whole nation, north, south and overseas. should strengthen its solidarity for the sake of national reunification.
10. Those who have contributed to the great unity of the nation and to the cause of national reunification should be honoured.
Visiting the Arch of Reunification
The Arch is located on the south-western Pyongyang on the road to Kaesong at the start of the Tongil Highway. On tours that visit the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the Arch of Reunification is usually visited in the morning before departing to the DMZ or in the evening on the way back.
While tourists do not usually visit the inside part of the Arch, there is a part of the structure is engraved with messages of support for peace and reunification from Koreans and others from around the world.