President Lee Myung-bak s remarks on Inter-Korean Issues
The following is an excerpt from President Lee s address on the 53rd Memorial Day in June 6, 2008
Korea is the sole remaining nation on the earth which was divided into two by Cold War rivalries. Unification is not only the long-cherished wish of 70 million Koreans but also an essential task which will determine the destiny of peace in Northeast Asia.
The South and North have so far continued dialogue, exchanges and cooperation. Although it is not very satisfactory, there has been some headway.
The North Korean nuclear issue has also recently shown a certain degree of progress. Sooner or later, the Six-Party Talks will reconvene to finalize the steps for the second stage of the North s denuclearization.
I think it is a particularly positive move that the North is working together with the international community for its denuclearization. On top of this, it is necessary for the South and the North to engage in a serious dialogue to discuss on-going or future exchanges and cooperation projects.
We have yet to resolve issues of South Korean prisoners of war, separated families and abductees in the North. Those prisoners of war and the first generation of separated families are now in their 70s or 80s. Before it s too late, the Government will do its utmost in good faith to make sure that separated family members will be able to freely come and go, and return to their hometowns that they have visited only in their dreams. I ask for the North s proactive cooperation in this matter from a humanitarian perspective.
We have to march forward with sincerity and reciprocity towards an era of implementation going beyond the era of pronouncements. Now is the time for the two Koreas to exert endeavors to promote peace, co-prosperity and unification on the Korean Peninsula by compromising with each other and cooperating in a sincere manner.