It is good to see you all. I am Unification Minister Kim Yeon Chul.
I would like to sincerely congratulate you on the reopening of
the Gyeongnam Unification Hall.
I would like to extend my deep gratitude to Governor Kim Kyoung-soo
of South Gyeongsang Province for rendering full support for the
remodeling of the unification hall and to those at the Gyeongnam
branch of the Korea Freedom Federation, including Chairman Bang
Hyo-cheol and Secretary General Kim Hong-sik, who are in charge of
managing the Gyeongnam Unification Hall.
My special thanks also go to Chairperson Kim Ji-soo of the
Gyeongsangnam-do Provincial Council; council members Kim Young-jin,
Park Moon-cheol, Park Ok-soon, and Seong Yeon-seok; Jin Jeong-moo,
chief of the Gyeongnam Provincial Policy Agency; and all the
distinguished guests from home and abroad for gracing the event with
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Moon Jae-in administration pursues “North Korea policy based on public consensus.”
There can be no denying that expanding the consensus and reaching
agreement on North Korea policy are essential to ensure sustainable
development of inter-Korean relations and to realize peace and
prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
In this sense, the regional unification halls based in local
communities, the very living places of the people, have an important
role to play.
Today, the Gyeongnam Unification Hall reopens under the banner of
“Unification, It’s Spring Again” after nine months of remodeling.
The people of Gyeongnam are now able to take a trip to Pyeongyang
and Gaeseong through virtual reality (VR) telescopes and have hands-on
experience of a Korean Peninsula at peace.
I hope that the Gyeongnam Unification Hall will be loved by the
local community not only as a center of regional unification education
but as a space where all people can come together and mingle with each
other, regardless of age or ideology.
For its part, the government will take greater interest in and
actively support activities of the unification halls and regional
Distinguished guests from home and abroad,
Gyeongnam has taken the lead in inter-Korean exchange and cooperation.
Last year, the 22-member North Korean delegation participated in the
2018 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Shooting
Championships held here in Changwon and communicated the message of
inter-Korean reconciliation and peace to the world.
The Asian Shooting Championship is scheduled for 2023 in Changwon,
and the city is working to ensure the participation of North Korean
athletes once again.
If local governments leverage their comparative advantages to handle
matters that the central government is less well suited to handle,
just as Changwon and Gyeongnam have done, inter-Korean exchange and
cooperation will develop even further and more rapidly.
Although inter-Korean relations have entered a lull and the
situation on the Korean Peninsula is uncertain, the government will
continue to work together with the people and local governments for
peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
I ask the people of Gyeongnam to join the government’s efforts with
unwavering interest and support.
Once again, I would like to congratulate you on the reopening of the
Gyeongnam Unification Hall, and I wish everyone the best of health and
happiness in 2020.