Seoul Seeks Inter-Korean Benefits, Prosperity
Vice Minister of Unification
Korea is the only divided country in the world. Leaving the days of the Cold War in the ashes of history, the world is trying to usher in an era of reconciliation and cooperation, overcoming the differences in ideology and political systems. And yet, the Korean peninsula is still under the shadow of confrontation and division.
Instability on the Korean Peninsula poses a great threat to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. In light of this, achieving peace and unification on the peninsula does not only fulfill the dream of the Korean people but accomplishes the crucial task of achieving permanent peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia.
More than anything else, the Lee administration wants to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue in a complete and verifiable way, as it poses a serious threat to the security of the peninsula.
Without resolving the nuclear issue, there will be no peace on the peninsula: Without settled peace, we cannot achieve the goal of improving inter-Korean relations and bringing stability to this land. Therefore, we intend to continue our efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue in close consultation with the international community within the frame of the six-party talks.
We will also make efforts to improve inter-Korean economic cooperation based on mutual benefits. To this end, it is essential to expand mutually beneficial economic cooperation, making the best use of both sides' merits by combining the South's capital and technology and the North's resources and labor.
One step after another, in this way, we can create a new dynamic force for economic growth in the South and an opportunity for economic development in the North.
We will do our best to increase the happiness of the people of both Koreas. We will not cease looking for fundamental solutions to heal the pain of separated families, prisoners of war and abductees who have lived with the scar of the division.
In addition, we will work hard to help the North Korean people, who have long-suffered from chronic food shortages and economic difficulties, as we are morally obliged to lend a hand to improve the humanitarian situation of our brethren.
As mentioned, the Policy of Mutual Benefits and Common Prosperity is based on reconciliation, cooperation and engagement.
Some say that the Lee Myung-bak administration takes a hard-line policy toward North Korea, but this is a sheer misunderstanding. We proposed many times inter-Korean talks and cooperation in order to improve the relations.
Moreover, last year showed a greater amount of inter-Korean trade and human exchanges than ever, which is the result of our consistent efforts to develop inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation.
We express our deep regret that North Korea has kept criticizing the Republic of Korea (ROK) government and taken hostile and threatening measures toward the South despite our government's efforts for conciliation.
Such measures are in no way helpful in settling peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Remaining firmly committed to such principles, the government will never stop making efforts to further improve inter-Korean relations through dialogue and cooperation. We hope that the North accepts our sincerity and comes to the table for talks as soon as possible.
The ROK government is well aware of the international community's wish and hope for peace and stability on the peninsula.
We will make our utmost efforts to advance inter-Korean relations and achieve the goal of reunifying the Korean Peninsula while remaining in close consultation and cooperation with the international community in our implementation of the Policy of Mutual Benefits and Common Prosperity.
We expect sincere attention and support from the international community for the Korean people's efforts in their path toward permanent peace and unification of the peninsula.