Foreign Pawlicy: North Korea Gives 2 Hunting Pups To South


Songgang, a year-old male, traveled with Gomi from North Korea to live at South Korea's presidential office and residence, the Blue House.
South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP

Songgang, a year-old male, traveled with Gomi from North Korea to live at South Korea's presidential office and residence, the Blue House.

Pungsan dogs are a breed known for their loyalty and ferocity — hunting game that has been reported to include wolves, wild boar and big cats. They are also affectionate, social and, in some instances, diplomatic.

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, presented two Pungsan pups to South Korean President Moon Jae-in — perhaps the latest symbol of an improving relationship between the two countries — Moon's office announced Sunday.

"Cheong Wa Dae [the presidential office] was offered a pair of Pungsan dogs from the North as a gift at the North-South summit and received them Thursday," Moon's office said in a statement, as reported by the Japan Times.

The Pungsan pups, named Songgang and Gomi, are each about a year old. The breed is named after a county in North Korea.

Kim proposed the symbolic gift during the leaders' third meeting this year. That mid-September summit in Pyongyang was the first time Moon had visited the North Korean capital, as reported by NPR's Bill Chappell.

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North Korea delivered the dogs through the DMZ and the border village of Panmunjom.

It was in that border village earlier this year that "Moon invited Kim over an ankle-high concrete barrier that divides the two countries — the first time the North Korean leader — or any North Korean leader — had ever set foot in the South," NPR reported in April.

The two dogs look to join a considerable family of furry friends that reside at the South Korean Blue House — the nation's equivalent of the U.S. White House. Already there are a rescue dog, a rescue cat and Moon's own Pungsan, Maru.

Moon's apparent love for animals stands in apparent contrast to his ousted predecessor, Park Geun-hye, who was accused of abandoning her dogs when she left the presidential palace after she was impeached in 2017, according to the BBC.

This is not the first time dogs have served as a symbol of good will on the Korean Peninsula.

In 2000, Kim Jong Il sent two Pungsan puppies to South Korean leader, Kim Dae-jung, who reciprocated with two Jindo dogs, named Peace and Reunification, according to CNN.

According to the Japan Times, the North sent 3 kilograms, or about 6 pounds, of dog food along with Songgang and Gomi, to "help with their adaptation," said the Blue House statement.

It is not clear if that 6 pounds of dog food includes any treats. Also not reported: whether the dogs are trained to sit, fetch, lay down or offer specific steps toward denuclearization, which would make them unusually good dogs.

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