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Speeches and Contributions

Keynote Speech at the ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.


Keynote Speech at the ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

19:30-19:45 on April 9, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul

Keynote Speech

By Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung

1. Greetings
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening.

It is good to see you all. I am Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung.

I would like to extend my warm welcome to the distinguished guests from home and abroad including Chairman Norbert Lammert of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, who came all the way from Germany to participate in this event.

My thanks also go to lawmakers Chu Mi-ae, Lee Ju-young, Hong Il-pyo, Baek Seung-joo, and Lee Sang-don for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us today.

I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Stefan Samse, the director of the Korea Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), and all the staff members on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their office.

The Korea Office of the KAS has been active these past 40 years, in political education, academics, publication, Germany visitation programs, scholarship projects, and the like. The office has not only contributed to the development in relations between Korea and Germany but has also been a companion in our journey toward development in inter-Korean relations and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

On this occasion, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the office.

2. Change in the situation on the Korean Peninsula

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Certainly, much has indeed changed since German unification, but the German experience and the follow-up integration process still have important lessons and implications for the Korean Peninsula.

In July 2017, President Moon Jae-in announced the Berlin Initiative, which aims to end the Cold War, address the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully and fundamentally, and establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The government has since consistently strived to realize the Initiative with peace the top priority. Because North Korea responded to this effort, things began to change.

The international community rendered support and cooperation for improvement in inter-Korean relations. As a result, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has entered a new stage.

Through three inter-Korean summits and two North Korea-US summits, the two Koreas and the US agreed on denuclearization and establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula and have been working hard to realize them.

All hostile military acts between South and North Korea have completely ceased in every domain, including land, air, and sea, and the work to ease military tensions has proceeded steadily.

The demilitarized zone (DMZ) narrowly separates hundreds of thousands of troops and heavy artillery pieces, and it is being reborn as a space of demilitarization, which is entirely fitting for the name of the DMZ.

The government plans to withdraw some guard posts from the DMZ, create the DMZ Peace Trails, and open them to the public.

The demilitarization work of Panmunjeom, where two inter-Korean summits were held, is completed. We will usher in a new era in which people can come and go freely in both the southern and northern sides of the Joint Security Area at Panmunjeom.

The West Sea, which witnessed several incidents between South and North Korea, is now being turned into a sea of peace where fishermen can dream of full loads of fish. In the Han River estuary, a joint survey of waterways was conducted for the first time since the armistice.

The symbols of hostility and confrontation are being reborn as symbols of peace.

Inter-Korean relations that had been severed for a long time are now moving forward to reconciliation and cooperation.

Last year, reunions of separated family members resumed after a three-year hiatus.

The government is preparing for the opening of the permanent reunion center, video reunions of separated families, and exchange of video messages as agreed at the inter-Korean summit in September last year.

South and North Korea held a groundbreaking ceremony for the connection of railways and roads and conducted a joint field study of the railways in the North.

The two Koreas together surveyed the 1,200km of railroads from the Amnok River (Yalu River) to the Duman River (Tumen River) over 17 days.

The two Koreas are working together to restore their sense of unity through such means as a joint excavation of Manwoldae, a Goryeo-era royal palace in Gaeseong.

Last September, the inter-Korean joint liaison office, which is similar to the permanent missions of East and West Germany, was established in Gaeseong, and it has since served as a channel for communication 24/7 between officials from the South and the North.

As you know, I, as the director of the southern side of the liaison office, engage in discussions regarding issues of inter-Korean relations on a regular basis.

Of course, 70 years of hostility and distrust can hardly be resolved in a day. We often face difficulties in understanding each other’s positions and situations and bridging the differences in the positions.

What is important is that South and North Korea, the US, and the international community never give up on peace on the Korean Peninsula. The need for continuing dialogue with patience and an open mind is greater than ever before.

North Korea and the US failed to reach an agreement in Hanoi at their second summit, and this is a pity. However, we need to consider that the two leaders frankly discussed each other’s positions and did not give up hope for dialogue.

North Korea suspended nuclear and missile testing for over a year. The North officially declared that it would scrap the “Byungjin line” the – parallel pursuit of nuclear weapons and economic development – and direct all its energy into the construction of a socialist economy.

North Korea dismantled its nuclear test site under the observation of the international community and promised to destroy its missile test site and rocket launchpad and allow observation by the international community. It also said that it would be willing to permanently close its nuclear facilities in Yeongbyeon depending on corresponding measures by the US.

At the third inter-Korean summit last September, President Moon Jae-in, for the first time as an ROK President, appealed to the 150,000 citizens in Pyeongyang to work together with the South to build a peaceful Korean Peninsula free from nuclear weapons and threats of war. The North Korean people responded with rousing cheers and applause.

3. Future policy direction

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
The ROK government will faithfully implement the inter-Korean agreements and continue to develop inter-Korean relations.

At the same time, it will work hard to ensure that dialogue between Pyeongyang and Washington resumes as soon as possible and that denuclearization and establishment of peace can proceed in earnest.

It will strive to reinforce the virtuous cycle of peace and economic development. It will increase economic cooperation through peace and further solidify the peace by means of economic cooperation.

All of this will benefit neighboring countries and the international community, as well as South and North Korea. Reciprocal cooperation will further strengthen peace, and solidarity among countries concerned will be stronger.

The government will connect the New Economic Initiative for the Korean Peninsula to New Northern Policy and New Southern Policy, laying the foundation for cooperation between the Korean Peninsula and the international community.

This will open a new door for North Korea, which is now directing all of its energy into economic development.

4. Closing remarks

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Germany and Korea share painful histories of national division and have better understanding of the yearning for peace and unification than anyone else.

Germany is still working hard to address the legacy of division to this day, but Korea imagines what its future will be through the yesterday and today of Germany.

I believe that all of you here today, the German people, and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung will render support and cooperation for peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula.

Once again, I sincerely congratulate you on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and I wish everyone of you the best health and happiness.

Thank you.