Dogs gifted by North’s Kim resettle in South Korean zoo

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A pair of canines gifted by North Korean chief Kim Jong Un 4 years in the past ended up at a zoo in South Korea after a dispute over who ought to finance the caring of the animals.

Kim had given the 2 white Pungsan searching canines — a breed indigenous to North Korea — to then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a present following their summit talks in Pyongyang in 2018. However liberal Moon gave up the canines final month, citing a scarcity of monetary help for the canines from the present conservative authorities led by President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The canines, named Gomi and Songgang, have been moved to a zoo run by a neighborhood authorities within the southern metropolis of Gwangju final Friday after a short lived keep at a veterinary hospital within the southeastern metropolis of Daeju, zoo officers mentioned.

With Gwangju Mayor Kang Gijung in attendance, the canines have been proven off Monday with their nametags round their necks as journalists and different guests took pictures.

“Gomi and Songgang are an emblem of peace and South-North Korean reconciliation and cooperation. We’ll elevate them properly like we domesticate a seed for peace,” Kang mentioned, in line with his workplace.

The canines have six offspring between them, all of them born after they got here to South Korea. One in every of them, named Byeol, has been raised within the Gwanju zoo since 2019. The remaining 5 are in different zoos and a public facility in South Korea.

Gwangju zoo officers mentioned they’ll attempt to elevate Byeol and her mum or dad canines collectively, although they’re at present stored individually as they don’t acknowledge one another.

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Gomi and Songgang formally belong to state property. Whereas in workplace, Moon raised them on the presidential residence. After leaving workplace in Could, Moon was in a position to take them to his personal residence due to a change of regulation that allowed presidential presents to be managed exterior the Presidential Archives in the event that they have been animals or vegetation.

However in early November, Moon’s workplace accused the Yoon authorities of refusing to cowl the associated fee for the canines’ meals and veterinary care. Yoon’s workplace denied the accusation, saying it by no means prevented Moon from preserving the animals and that the discussions about offering monetary help have been nonetheless ongoing.

Moon, a champion of reconciliation with North Korea, was credited with arranging now-dormant diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear program, but in addition confronted criticism that his engagement coverage allowed Kim to purchase time and increase his nation’s nuclear functionality within the face of worldwide sanctions. Yoon has accused Moon’s engagement coverage “being submissive” to North Korea.

In 2000, Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, gifted one other pair of Pungsan canines to then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung after their assembly in Pyongyang, the primary inter-Korean summit since their division in 1948. Liberal Kim Dae-jung gave two Jindo canines — a breed native to a South Korean island — to Kim Jong Il. The North Korean canines lived at a public zoo close to Seoul earlier than they died in 2013.