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North Korea removes the term ‘unification’ from the name of a Pyongyang metro station – according to Radio Free Asia

North Korea’s Unification Station on its Pyongyang metro line is now known simply as “Station” as Pyongyang erased the term to signify that the South has become its “primary foe,” as seen in a photo posted by the Russian Embassy in North Korea. This is the latest indication of Pyongyang’s change in policy towards dealing with South Korea.

The Russian Embassy posted photos of its diplomats inspecting Pyongyang metro stations on its official Facebook account on Feb. 20, including one that shows a passenger information display.

The image of the display captures the train at Puhung Station on Pyongyang metro’s Chollima Line, or red line. Previously, this line featured “Unification Station,” also known as “Tongil Station.” However, the photo reveals that the term “Unification” has been removed, leaving it simply as “Station.”

An image of the Pyongyang’s metro’s passenger information display captures the train at Puhung Station on Pyongyang metro’s Chollima Line posted by the Russian Embassy in North Korea on Feb. 20, 2024. The new name of the “Station” circled in red by RFA. (Facebook: Russian Embassy in North Korea)

The move came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un redefined inter-Korean ties as relations between “two states hostile to each other” during a year-end party meeting.

In a key parliamentary meeting in January, Kim called for revising the country’s constitution to define South Korea as the North’s “primary foe”, and “invariable principal enemy” and to codify a commitment to “suppress” South Korean territory in the event of war.

Last month, the North’s state-run broadcaster aired a map that highlights only the northern part of the Korean Peninsula in red, a move seen as its push to drop references to unification.

In January, Pyongyang eliminated the idea of “one people” shared with South Korea from its media outlets, defining the South as a separate entity rather than the “same Koreans.”

Additionally, the authoritarian state has also dropped a phrase symbolizing a unified Korea from the lyrics of its national anthem, while erasing an image of the Korean Peninsula, viewed as a unification reference, from its major websites, according to media reports. 

They include the website of the Foreign Trade of the DPRK, a website created to promote North Korea’s trade and attract investments, and Publications of the DPRK, a foreign language publishing house.

DPRK, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is North Korea’s official name. 

On Feb. 16, South Korea’s unification ministry voiced regret over the North’s move, lamenting it as an “anti-national” act.

Edited by Elaine Chan and Mike Firn.

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