I am Unification Minister Kim Yeon
I think it is very meaningful to celebrate the 20th
anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration along with National
Assembly members of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and party
officials. It is also profoundly significant that we come together for
this event commemorating the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation
in the June 15 Joint Declaration.
I would like to extend my
gratitude to DPK Chairman Lee Hae-chan and DPK floor leader Kim
Tae-nyeon. My thanks also goes to all other participants including
Chairman Kim Han-jeong of the special committee for the June 15 Joint
Declaration for arranging this event.
I also would like to
express my respect and appreciation to former Unification Minister Lim
Dong-won, Executive Vice-chairperson Jeong Se-hyun of the National
Unification Advisory Council, Moon Chung-in, special security advisor
to President Moon, and former Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok. They
played the leading roles in the June 15 Joint Declaration and are
living witnesses to it.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
15 Joint Declaration was a remarkable milestone in the country’s
history of division.
I particularly think that we have learned
three major lessons about peace through the June 15 Joint Declaration
and its implementation process.
First, we learned that peace is
never given by itself. Article 1 of the June 15 Joint Declaration made
it clear that the Korean people, as the masters of the country, must
handle the matters regarding the Korean Peninsula.
managed to bring peace and to maintain it by making a bold decision
and taking courageous action.
Second, we learned that peace can
be achieved only through mutual respect and recognition.
agreement on the unification plan in Article 2 of the June 15 Joint
Declaration was the result of candid communication based on mutual
understanding and trust between the two Koreas.
Last but not
least, we learned that peace can be further consolidated when both
sides meet face-to-face.
Then South Korean President Kim
Dae-jung and then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the signatories to
the June 15 Joint Declaration, agreed on inter-Korean dialogue and
cooperation in Articles 3 and 4.
Peace is not for any one party.
Dialogue and cooperation will greatly benefit both South and North
Korea and will change the lives of all the people on the Korean
Peninsula for the better.
The June 15 Joint Declaration is a
reliable compass for inter-Korean relations. Now that inter-Korean
relations are about to lose their bearings, we need to remember the
spirit of the June 15 Joint Declaration again.
Honorable DPK members and distinguished guests,
have been so many difficulties and challenges in inter-Korean
There will be quite a number of tasks to tackle and
obstacles to overcome in the future.
The spirit of the June 15
Joint Declaration lies not in flunkeyism but in self-determination,
not in confrontation but in peace, and not in division but in
This is the principle we need to bear in mind in
order to not lose our way in the present crisis.
I expect that
the 21st National Assembly just launched will serve as a strong
support in the journey toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.