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Speeches and Contributions

Welcoming Speech at the welcome banquet for the 2019 International Youth Pilgrimage to the DMZ


Welcoming Speech at the welcome banquet for the 2019 International Youth Pilgrimage to the DMZ

19:00 on August 19, 2019 at the Center for Unified Korean Future

Welcoming Speech
By Unification Minister Kim Yeon Chul

Good evening.

It is good to see you all.

I would like to extend my warm welcome to all of you for participating in the 2019 International Youth Pilgrimage to the DMZ.

I am particularly pleased to have this meaningful event at the Center for Unified Korean Future under the Ministry of Unification.

I would like to extend my special thanks and warm welcome to Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Archbishop Alfred Xuereb, Yeoncheon Mayor Kim Kwang-cheol, Fifth Infantry Division commander Lee Sang-chul, Bishop Peter Chung Soon-taek, and Bishop Job Koo Yo-bi for joining us today.

I know that you are suffering in the sweltering heat, but you have shown that your passion for peace is more intense than the hot sun now bearing down on the Korean Peninsula.

West German Chancellor Willy Brandt once said, “Peace is not everything, but everything is nothing without peace.”

This certainly implies the importance of peace.

Like the air that we breathe, whether we realize or not, peace has a great impact on our lives at this very moment.

In particular, the three inter-Korean summit talks and the September 19 inter-Korean military agreement of last year significantly eased military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the residents in this border area are already experiencing the benefits of peace.

They no longer have to fear war nor the shrill sounds of loudspeakers. Now, they are able to enjoy their lives in safety and peace.

The demilitarized zone (DMZ), where you have walked around since last Friday, is coming back to the people.

Our future is based on an unwavering, solid peace because security, the economy, growth, and prosperity cannot be guaranteed without peace.

The peace economy mentioned by President Moon Jae-in in his Liberation Day speech is a gift of peace that young people will enjoy.

The peace economy will help the government reduce the cost of division and instead support the young generation in realizing their future dreams.

However, peace does not come overnight. Small acts by ordinary people accumulate and gather momentum to change the great stream of history.

Peace will finally become ours when we continually discuss peace and our daily lives and our minds keep pace with an era of peace.

In this regard, every small step you have taken during this pilgrimage has important meaning.

I expect that as you are from different countries with different languages and cultures, you share the value of peace and will become reliable fellow travelers to each other on the path toward peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Jesus Christ once said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

I ask each of you to be a person who makes peace after this pilgrimage and to take interest and participate in the matters of the Korean Peninsula.

Your avid interest and participation will do much to realize an irreversible peace and to build a Korean Peninsula of common prosperity.

I wish you all a safe and healthy stay at the Center for Unified Korean Future and that you have a fun and productive time.

Thank you.