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Speeches and Contributions

Congratulatory Speech at the symposium marking the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Institute for National Unification


Congratulatory Speech at the symposium marking the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Institute for National Unification

 13:00 on April 17, 2019 at the Westin Chosun Seoul

Congratulatory Speech

 By Unification Minister Kim Yeon Chul

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is good to see you all. I am Unification Minister Kim Yeon Chul.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to you on holding the symposium marking the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU).

I was actually with the KINU myself no so long ago, and I can rightly say that the institute feels like the home of my birth. Today, I am here to give a congratulatory speech as Unification Minister, and I cannot help but be filled with emotion right

I would like to express my deep gratitude to KINU President Jeon Byung-gon and the staff for all their hard work in arranging this meaningful event.

I would like to extend my appreciation to Chairman Seong Kyoung-ryung of the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences; the former KINU presidents; and the distinguished guests for gracing the event.

My special thanks also go to the experts in inter-Korean relations for participating in the presentations and discussions.

 The KINU was founded in 1991, and in all these years, it has done a great deal through extensive research on unification and inter-Korean relations to help the government craft effective policy on unification and North Korea more generally.

I would like to sincerely thank all of those who have worked so hard to make the KINU what it is today, the very best institute concerned with unification and North Korea.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
At this time last year, the leaders of South and North Korea met at Panmunjeom and declared the beginning of a new era of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Many changes have since occurred. The two Koreas have been carrying out the Panmunjeom Declaration step by step, and a Korean Peninsula of peace and prosperity is at last becoming reality.

The resumption of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation has expedited the development of inter-Korean relations.

With the opening of the inter-Korean joint liaison office in Gaeseong, dialogue between Seoul and Pyeongyang has become a daily affair. Reunions of separated families were held after a three-year hiatus. The two Koreas have reaffirmed that they are one through exchange and cooperation across many fields including sports, history, and culture.

 Military tensions were eased and mutual trust increased. All hostile military acts between South and North Korea have completely ceased in every domain, including land, air, and sea, and the DMZ areas are being reborn as a land of peace. The Joint Security Area at Panmunjeom was demilitarized as agreed at the armistice agreement, and some guard posts were withdrawn from the DMZ.

Most significantly of all, after 70 years of hostility, the leaders of North Korea and the US met each other twice and discussed ways to achieve denuclearization and establish peace. Washington and Pyeongyang reaffirmed “complete denuclearization” as agreed at the Panmunjeom Declaration and promised to establish a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and a new relationship between the two countries.

The Panmunjeom Declaration served as a guide and a stepping stone for denuclearization negotiations between North Korea and the US.

It has been one year since the Panmunjeom Declaration was announced, and spring has come back again. We still have a long way to go and numerous obstacles to overcome.

However, if the South and the North trust and respect each other just as they did in creating the Panmunjeom Declaration and resolve issues one by one, all obstacles will be overcome.

The symposium looks back on the past year following the Panmunjeom Declaration and discusses future tasks. Such discussions are necessary at this point.

Leading experts in inter-Korean relations are joining us today, so I expect that the discussions will be substantial and yield concrete outcomes.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
At the summit meeting last week, the leaders of South Korea and the US shared the recognition that the ROK government’s efforts to improve inter-Korean relations have indeed helped build and sustain the momentum for dialogue on denuclearization.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reaffirmed their mutual trust, emphasized that the door to dialogue is open, and expressed their willingness to hold follow-up negotiations.

The government, as the master of destiny of the Korean Peninsula, will take the lead in actual resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and a sustainable peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

Peace will bring the gift of common prosperity to both South and North Korea. The government will firmly establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and open a new era in which peace will bring economic development. It will do its best to ensure that the people can feel peace in their lives.

I believe that all of you here will support the government’s efforts.

Once again, I sincerely congratulate you on the 28th anniversary of the KINU, and I hope that the institute continues to conduct in-depth research and make practical policy proposals so as to serve as an important companion in the way forward to peace and common prosperity of the Korean Peninsula.

Thank you.