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Congratulatory Speech at the 2019 Northern Economy Forum hosted by the Federation of Northern Economy

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장수민
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2019-03-14
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Congratulatory Speech at the 2019 Northern Economy Forum hosted by the Federation of Northern Economy

13:30-17:40 on March 14, 2019 at The K Hotel Seoul

Congratulatory Speech

By Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon
(Read by the Director General for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation)

1.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon.
It is good to see you all.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to you on holding the 2019 Northern Economy Forum. I thank Chairman Kim Chil-du of the Federation of Northern Economy and all others involved in organizing this meaningful event for your hard work.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to Lee In-young, chairman of the parliamentary special committee on inter-Korean economic cooperation and all other distinguished guests for gracing the forum with their presence.


2.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
The second North Korea-US summit was held in Hanoi just a short while ago. US President Trump repeatedly mentioned at the meeting that North Korea has enormous potential to become an economic powerhouse, and that is certainly true.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at an internal event last week, said that there is no more pressing need than economic development. The ROK government is seeking common prosperity for both South and North Korea through the New Economic Initiative on the Korean Peninsula.

As it is, the economy is a common interest that connects between South and North Korea and the US.

We can establish peace through economic cooperation and then further promote economic cooperation based on the peace, creating a virtuous cycle of peace and the economy.

There is one more reason that the government emphasizes common prosperity through economic linkages between South and North Korea, and that is because the linkages benefit our economy as well.

The ROK economy faces structural limitations. The low fertility rate, the aging of society, the limitation of the domestic market, the widespread inequality, and so on have all served to dampen growth. The Korea discount due to the security risk has been a challenge we haven’t been able to address for a long time.

Today, the forum addresses “Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation,” an important key to break through these crises.

Once inter-Korean economic cooperation begins in earnest, new investment will increase and more jobs will be created. In addition, market integration between the two Koreas will afford an economy of scale, which will breathe new life into the South’s stagnant economy.

Furthermore, if expanded economic cooperation solidifies peace on the Korean Peninsula, we will finally be able to fundamentally address the Korea discount, which has long dragged our economy down.

No matter how good the opportunity is, we need wisdom to prepare for the future in order to not miss the chance and make good use of it.
North Korea is a prospective partner for economic cooperation that all neighboring countries recognize for its potential. Inter-Korean economic cooperation is a special opportunity of a kind that no other country has but us. To seize the opportunity, we have to begin making preparations now, today.

With all this in mind, the government is preparing, in a calm and orderly way, for the future in which the New Economic Initiative on the Korean Peninsula begins in earnest while working closely with North Korea, the US, and the international community.

I expect that this forum will serve as a venue for substantial and concrete discussion
for them.


3.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Peace on the Korean Peninsula has entered a new phase through three inter-Korean summits and two North Korea-US summits. The government will solidify the peace that we have now and prepare for a new era in which peace brings economic development.

I ask all of you here to render the government your support and cooperation. Once again, I congratulate you on holding the forum, and I wish everyone the best of health and happiness.

Thank you.