President Lee s Remarks on Inter-Korean Issues
This is an excerpt from President Lee Myung-bak s address on the 63rd anniversary of National Liberation and the 60th anniversary of the Founding of the Republic of Korea.
Dream of a Unified Korea Advancing into the World
As we open another 60 years for the Republic, we have a new dream. That is that the 80 million Koreans living in the South and North will become one and forge ahead together in the international community. When the North joins in the flow of the global community, and consequently the two Koreas become one, the Korean people can step onto the center stage of the Eurasia-Pacific Age.
The countries on the Pacific Rim, including the United States, account for half of global production. Eurasia alone has more than half the world s total population, one third of global production and a half of international trade. The age of Eurasia and the Pacific is fully unfolding, indeed.
When the two Koreas become unified, the Korean Peninsula, which is now partially closed, will become a wide-open space. It promises to be the main gateway for prosperity linking the Eurasian continent to the Pacific Ocean by land, air and sea.
When that happens, a train leaving Busan with cargo will be able to travel the trans-continental railway all the way to Central Asia and Western Europe. Opening the age of the Pacific and the age of Eurasia simultaneously, a unified Korea will leap toward the center of the global community.
Fellow citizens of the Republic and compatriots in the North,
I want to share this dream with all the 80 million Koreans. There could be an alternative, but I do not want to go around the people in the North and leave them behind. I am not going to give up the dream of both Koreas living well together.
First and foremost for that to happen, permanent peace must be brought about. The nuclear weapons program, which is the source of distrust and conflict, has to be eliminated completely; it has to be replaced by programs and opportunities for mutual benefits and common prosperity. Last week, I met with U.S. President George W. Bush and expressed the hope that the North would become a responsible member of the global community as soon as possible and that Korea and the United States, along with the rest of the world, would be able to help the North actively through international financial organizations. Recently, there was a regrettable shooting death of a South Korean tourist at the Geumgangsan mountain resort. Despite that, I have expectations that Pyongyang will come forward for comprehensive dialogue and economic cooperation because now is the most opportune time for the North to make change.
In accordance with progress at the Six-Party Talks and through international cooperation, I intend to proactively carry out substantive economic cooperation programs with the North and ultimately materialize a Korean Peninsula economic community.
The future belongs to people with dreams. But just one dreamer is not good enough. When the 80 million Korean people dream the same dream, it will certainly be realized. Let us show our descendants how great the Korean people can be when they are united as one.
Sixty-three years ago today, we achieved the independence of our homeland from oppressive Japanese imperialism. The main reason we lost our country was that we did not have enough strength to safeguard it ourselves.
To prevent such a tragic history from repeating itself, we should make our country rich and powerful with our own hands. By doing so, no country will dare covet our territory. Japan should face up to history and refrain from making the foolish mistake of repeating the unfortunate past again today.