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Speeches and Contributions

Congratulatory Speech at the opening ceremony of the Gyeongnam Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation

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장수민
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2019-07-22
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Congratulatory Speech at the opening ceremony of the Gyeongnam Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation


1.
Good afternoon.
It is good to see you all. I am Unification Minister Kim Yeon Chul.

I would like to extend my congratulations to you on opening the Gyeongnam Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, and I am very pleased to be here with you at this significant place today.

I would like to express my deep gratitude to Governor of South Gyeongsang Province Kim Kyoung-soo, Director Hong Jae-woo of the Gyeongnam Institute, and Hwang Gyo-wook, the first director of the Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation involved in opening the center for their hard work.

My appreciation also goes to Chairperson Kim Ji-soo of the Gyeongsangnam-do Provincial Council and the distinguished guests for taking time out of their busy schedules to grace the event with their presence.


2.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
The Moon Jae-in administration’s policy on North Korea pursues decentralized governance.

The local governments as well as the central government are the main agents of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation.

In particular, the government of South Gyeongsang Province (Gyeongnam) in the southernmost area of the Korean Peninsula has been leading inter-Korean exchange and cooperation.

The “Gyeongnam unification strawberry,” a trademark registered at the Korean Intellectual Property Office, is Gyeongnam’s unique model of win-win cooperation between South and North Korea.

The project for building an elementary school for North Korean students in Pyeongyang, which was supported by donations from 200,000 Gyeongnam residents in 2007, not only remarkably improved education for North Korean students but presented a new cooperation model: inter-Korean exchange by resident participation.

With inter-Korean exchange and cooperation resuming last year after a decade hiatus, Gyeongnam sent flour and soybean oil to North Korea for humanitarian purposes.

In addition, last year, a North Korean team of 22 athletes participated in the World Shooting Championships in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, communicating to the world messages of inter-Korean harmony and peace.

Local governments will assume greater roles as inter-Korean relations expand into more areas and inter-Korean exchange and cooperation becomes more active. They have some major advantages relative to the central government.

I expect that the Gyeongnam Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation launched for the first time in provincial governments will take the lead in opening an era of local government-led inter-Korean exchange and cooperation in earnest.

I hope that the research center makes the most of the characteristics and advantages of Gyeongnam and actively explores sustainable projects that will benefit both Koreas.

While respecting the autonomy of local governments including Gyeongnam, the central government will be fully supportive for their active exchange and cooperation with the North.

I expect to see more cooperation between the Ministry of Unification and Gyeongnam on the occasion of the opening of the Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation.


3.
In the following seminar, the participants will explore the possibilities for a practical strategy for “Gyeongnam-style inter-Korean exchange and cooperation.”

Since the experts knowledgeable in theory and experienced in their fields will be making presentations and engaging in discussions today, I expect that they will indeed be able to offer constructive proposals.

Once again, I congratulate you on opening the Gyeongnam Research Center for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, and I wish the research center a tremendous success. I also wish all of you the best of health.

Thank you.