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Congratulatory Speech at the opening ceremony for the photo exhibition on reunions of separated families

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장수민
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2019-03-25
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Congratulatory Speech at the opening ceremony for the photo exhibition on reunions of separated families

14:00 on March 25, 2019 at the National Assembly Members’ Office Building

Congratulatory Speech

By Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (Read by the Director General for
Humanitarian Cooperation)

 1.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon.
It is good to see you all.
I would like to sincerely congratulate you on holding the photo exhibition on reunions of separated families.

I would, furthermore, like to express my deep gratitude to lawmakers Lim Jong-seong and Lee Chan-yeol, Chairman Song Kwang-suk of the Citizens’ Federation for the Unification of the Fatherland, and all others involved in organizing this meaningful event for their hard work.

I would also like to extend my appreciation to all the distinguished guests for gracing the occasion with their presence.


2.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Sometimes, one photo that captures a moment in time communicates far more than hundreds of words ever could. The photos on display today bespeak of the everlasting
love of family members even amid the tragedy of 70 years of national division.

Every photo includes sad stories of separation of family members, signs of the pain and sorrow they have had for so long, and feelings of the joy of reunion.

Since the government knows how the separated families feel, it has made the resolution of separated family issues a top priority in its policy toward North Korea.
As a result, we made meaningful progress last year.

Reunions of separated families resumed after a three-year hiatus, and a total of 833 people from 170 families from South and North Korea met each other. It was the most overwhelming and touching moment of their lives as they had waited for 70 years.

However, considering that so many separated families are still waiting for a meeting, it was far short of the people’s expectations.

Thus, the leaders of South and North Korea agreed to address the pain of separated families fundamentally at the September Pyeongyang Joint Declaration
.
The leaders agreed to allow separated families to meet each other at any time as they please by normalizing a permanent reunion center on Mount Geumgang. Considering that so many elderly people are not physically able to go to the reunion center themselves, they also agreed to allow video reunions of separated families and exchange of video messages.

The government is now preparing for video reunions of separated families and exchange of video messages.

It will do its best to complete the remaining procedures as soon as possible in order to ensure that video reunions of separated families and exchange of video messages can commence some time very soon.

3.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
After the second North Korea-US summit, now is the time when we need to do all we can.

The government will do everything it can to ensure that North Korea and the US will be able to resume their dialogue and reach an agreement. It will make substantial progress in addressing the North Korean nuclear issue and further solidity peace on the Korean Peninsula.

I ask all of you to render support to the government and gather your hearts and wisdom.

I expect that this exhibition will do much to make many people aware of the urgency of the resolution of separated family issues and to build consensus on peace and unification.

I wish everyone the best of health and happiness.

Thank you.