My fellow citizens,
Despite North Korea's repeated slander, threats, hard-line measures and other difficulties it had faced since its inauguration, the Lee Myung-bak administration has exerted great efforts to improve inter-Korean relations based on the goals of mutual benefits and common prosperity.
We have tried to resolve all pending issues, including those involving the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and Mt. Geumgang tour, through dialogue. And, with brotherly affection and a humanitarian spirit, we did not suspend our humanitarian aid to North Korea in order to help its vulnerable population despite the stalemate in negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programs.
The Government of the Republic of Korea expected that North Korea would agree to forge a new and improved relationship between the two Koreas, which is the desire of our people.
The Government had hoped that North Korea would decide to give up its nuclear programs.
Unfortunately, North Korea failed to meet our expectations.
They denounced our head of state and let inter-Korean relations continue to deteriorate.
Recently, the North Korean authorities seized assets and facilities owned by the South Korean government and South Korean firms in the Mt. Geumgang district. Such unilateral and unreasonable measures have clearly undermined the very foundation of mutual exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas.
The people of the Republic of Korea and their government are outraged that North Korea has responded to our goodwill and patience with the tragic sinking of the Cheonan.
As President Lee has made it clear in his special address to the nation this morning, with strong determination, the Government will take the following resolute and practical measures against North Korea:
First, North Korean vessels will not be allowed to navigate our waters.
The Government will prohibit all North Korean vessels from entering our ports and navigating our territorial waters, including the Jeju Strait.
Second, trade between the two Koreas will be suspended.
The Government will prohibit general trade between the two Koreas, as well as all inbound and outbound shipments of goods and materials for processing on commission.
Third, South Korean citizens will not be allowed to visit North Korea.
The Government will not allow South Korean citizens to visit North Korea, with the exception of necessary visits to the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and the Mt. Geumgang district. Contacts with North Korean people will also be restricted.
Fourth, new investment in North Korea will be prohibited.
The Government will not allow any additional investment for ongoing projects either.
The establishment of new businesses in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex as well as additional investment in the joint economic district will be prohibited. The current production activities in the complex will not be discouraged, but the number of South Korean personnel in the district will be reduced.
Fifth, in principle, humanitarian aid to North Korea will be suspended for now.
However, we will continue providing pure humanitarian aid for such vulnerable groups of people as infants and young children.
In particular, as for the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, the Government wants to make this clear. If North Korea ignores our careful consideration to preserve the complex even under the current circumstances, and subsequently threatens the safety of our citizens there, we will never tolerate any harm to our citizens and we will respond with resolute measures.
My fellow citizens,
The current state of inter-Korean relations requires us to make a critical decision while maintaining our courage. It also requires us to have even greater patience.
For those who have been directly involved in exchanges and cooperation with North Korea, I ask for your understanding and patience.
The Government will handle the situation with determination and resolve. I ask my fellow citizens to have trust in your Government and show your support as we set out on a new path toward a better future for the Korean peninsula.