President Lee s Remarks on Inter-Korean Relations from his Radio Address to the Nation (Feb. 09, 2009)
I am well aware of the fact that many people are concerned about the strained ties between the South and North, even when they understand the situation. In particular, some are uneasy about a string of threatening comments uttered by the North recently.
My fellow citizens, I assure you that you don t have to worry too much. The Government is ready to sit down and talk with the North anytime to address all the problems. However, it will never rush headlong into anything. It is my firm belief that what counts the most when it comes to inter-Korean relations is unwavering, unequivocal principles. In the past, we just walked on egg shells around the North with an easy-going attitude glossing over every problem only to see things often go wrong in the end. Instead, I am convinced that it is crucial to achieve a good result by getting off to a good start even if it is a little tough in the beginning.
The South and North must treat each other with respect, hold dialogue on an equal footing and be sure to take measures against any recurrence of the problems of the past.
As President, I can confidently say this to you. We are as ready as we are ever going to be to cooperate with the North. North Koreans also need to recognize that South Korea is the only country in the world that will help them as a brother out of genuine concern