Seen as eyesore, Kim blows up Arch of Reunification – Asia Times

Seen as eyesore, Kim blows up Arch of Reunification - Asia Times

The Arch of Reunification, a statue that represented hope for peace with the South, has been destroyed by North Korea. The monument was destroyed not long after Kim Jong UN, the head of the regime, referred to it as an “eyesore” in a statement.

In the same conversation, Kim called for a change to the North Korean law to represent South Korea’s position as his nations ‘ “principal enemy” and declared that the two Koreas, which have been divided since August 1945, could no longer be peacefully united.

Two Korean women were depicted in the Arch of Reunification, which was unveiled in 2001, wearing traditional attire known as hanbok ( “Korean clothes” ) in South Korea and chosn- ot (‘KOREAN clothes ‘ ) in North Korea. Together, the women displayed a picture of the united Korean peninsula, which at the time accurately reflected the North Korean administration’s desire to bring the two nations back together.

This is not the first time that North Korea has destroyed images of Asian assistance, speech, and unity. A joint contact office with South Korea was destroyed near the border city of Kaesong in June 2020, and images of it was captured and made public by North Korea. To facilitate communication between the two nations, the website was opened.

The Inter-Korean line, a network of more than 40 phone lines that connect North and South Korea, was severed by North Korea the following month, in August 2021, as retaliation for military training carried out jointly by South and the US. Kim did, nevertheless, restart the alerts two months later and urged Seoul to intensify relations-building work.

The destruction of the Arch of Reunification is a sign of North Korea’s resolve to portray reconciliation as being impractical. However, despite the monument’s real erasure, the fact that it is depicted on five established postage stamps helps to preserve the structure and what it stood for.

A postage stamp depicting the Arch of Reunification against a clear blue sky.
On May 30, 2002, a shipping mark from North Korea was issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Joint Declaration of Reunification between North and South Korea. David Hall, CC BY, NC, SA, via The Talk

Mail stamps for promotional materials

Postage stamps serve as small carriers of advertising messages in addition to serving as items that show how much mail has been paid. They have previously been referred to as “ambassadors” expressing standard opinions and “windows of the state” showing how the government wants to be perceived by both its own citizens and those outside of it.

Revisions to formal party narratives in the majority of authoritarian states call for the modification and erasure of symbols connected to the earlier narrative. The removal of Joseph Stalin’s brand from numerous places and monuments after his death in 1953 is the most egregious instance of this.

This was a component of the late 1950s de-Stalonization action, which destroyed Stalin’s” cult of personality.” Stalin had enhanced his reputation as a leader and sparked commitment by using art and popular culture.

Similar to this, the official North Korean postage stamp library eliminated five postcards that showed the Arch of Reunification from its ads. Seal directories offer details on the date, creator, size, and color of the stamps as well as their design. It’s crucial to have this knowledge when gathering and analyzing them.

A postage stamp depicting the Arch of Reunification against red background.
The Worker’s Party of Korea held its 7th Congress on July 25, 2016, and a North Korean shipping stamp was issued to commemorate the event. David Hall, CC BY, NC, and SA from The Talk

The exact date that the postcards were taken out is unknown. However, according to Wayback Machine, a online library of the World Wide Web, the web changed on January 19, right around the time Kim gave his speech and the monument was reportedly demolished. The website no longer makes any physical or textual recommendations to the stamps.

Around this time, NK News furthermore reported that North Korea was removing outdated information from propaganda websites, suggesting a revision of the formal tale.

There is a history behind this. Listings that run counter to novel state narratives have recently been removed from North Korea’s official stamp catalogs.

For instance, North Korea released a set of five stamps in 1960 honoring Pyongyang’s reconstruction following the Korean War ( 1950–1953 ). Mao Zedong Square and Stalin Street, two of the place names depicted on the stamps, were afterwards renamed” Triumph Arc Square” and” Victory Street.”

However, because the original names were on the postcards that were issued in 1960, their physical representations in later published mark catalogs were excluded.

The vision of reconciliation endures.

Nearly a year after its debut, in May 2002, The Arch of Reunification was initially depicted on an North Korean mail mark. However, the monument has just been featured on two stamps, one from 2015 and two more from 2016 and 2021, both.

North Korea is attempting to remove all traces of the Arch of Reunification’s image. However for North Korea, however, these passports are in the personal series of foreign stamp collectors.

A North Korean postage stamp issued in 2021.
To commemorate the 8th Congress of the Worker’s Party of Korea, North Korean shipping passports were issued on February 20, 2021. David Hall, CC BY, NC, and SA from The Talk

At the time of the stamps ‘ issuance, Korea Stamp Corporation ( North Korea’s state-run postal authority ) offices in China and Russia were open to the public. On websites like eBay, it is still simple to purchase these postcards from stamp dealers.

Because it does n’t have complete control over how its state narrative is presented and could be changed, North Korea will never be able to completely eradicate these depictions of the unification dream.

David Hall is a University of Central Lancashire PhD candidate in Asian reports.

Under a Creative Commons license, this article is republished from The Conversation. read the article in its entirety.