Unification Minister Hong joins the international conference on denuclearization to mark the 25th anniversary of the closing of a nuclear test site in Kazakhstan
Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo delivered a keynote speech at the international conference “Building a Nuclear Weapon-Free World” held in Astana, Kazakhstan, at 10 a.m. on August 29 (local time). He met with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Speaker of the Kazakh Senate, and Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
The Unification Minister, in his speech, pointed out that “North Korea is the only country in the world which has conducted four nuclear tests in the 21st century. The North has recently threatened to carry out an additional nuclear test.”
Unification Minister Hong emphasized, “North Korea’s nuclear development must be stopped,” saying that “The North Korean regime should realize that it is threatening the lives of the Korean people and destroying the land on which our future generations will lead a bright future.”
He said, “Kazakhstan not only closed its nuclear test site but also removed nuclear weapons voluntarily. As a result, Kazakhstan won the trust of the international community and attracted massive investment, and as a result has grown to become an economic powerhouse in Central Asia.”
The Unification Minister also pointed out that “North Korea should learn from Kazakhstan. The North Korean regime is spending huge resources on nuclear and missile development at a time when it is not able to feed its own people without foreign aid.”
He went on to say that “I want to carry a message from President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the North Korean regime,” citing the Kazakh President, “Turning your back on nuclear weapons will bring you great benefits. Since giving up its nuclear weapons, Kazakhstan has become a more stable, prosperous country, had greater influence in the international community, and made more good friends.” The Unification Minister added, “If North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program, it will be given new opportunities and South Korea will support the North’s efforts toward peace and prosperity.”
Unification Minister Hong said, “Once unification is achieved, the horrors of nuclear weapons and war will disappear on the Korean Peninsula. A unified Korea will play a great part in creating a nuclear weapon-free and more peaceful world.”