SOUTH KOREA will guarantee the security of North Korea, pledges President Moon Jae-in.
Before the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, President Moon said the tragedy of war should never be repeated on the Korean Peninsula.
“The principles that I have firmly held on to in the course of resolving issues related to the Korean Peninsula remain unchanged. The first principle is zero tolerance for war. Korea is still in a state of armistice; the War has yet to come to an end. To this end, we must put an end to the longest-running armistice in human history and achieve a complete end to the War,” President Moon said. “The second principle is a mutual security guarantee. South Korea will guarantee the security of North Korea. I hope North Korea will do the same for South Korea. When the security of both sides is assured, it will become possible to accelerate denuclearisation and the establishment of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. At the very least, all hostile acts must be put on hold while the dialogue is ongoing. I hope that the international community will also work together to alleviate the security concerns on the Korean Peninsula. The third principle is co-prosperity. Peace does not simply mean the absence of conflict. Genuine peace is all about enhancing mutual inclusiveness and interdependence while working together for co-prosperity. A peace economy in which the two Koreas take part will solidify peace on the Peninsula and at the same time contribute to economic development in East Asia and the whole world.”
He said decisions made by US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un provided the momentum behind the dramatic change in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. President Moon noted that compared to the past in which it took only a few rounds of gunfire to instigate major political unrest, the Korean Peninsula has undergone a distinct change.
He said the negotiating table for peace on the Peninsula still remains accessible.
President Moon said the two Koreas and the US were setting their sights not only on denuclearisation and peace, but also on the economic cooperation that would follow thereafter.
He said the Republic of Korea intends to create a “peace economy” whereby peace can lead to economic cooperation, which, in turn, would reinforce peace, all working in a virtuous cycle. “Peace can only be created through dialogue. Peace can be considered as genuine when underpinned by agreements and law, and only peace that has been accomplished on the basis of trust will last,” President Moon said.
He reported that over the past year and a half, dialogue and negotiations had produced significant results on the Korean Peninsula. President Moon said Panmunjeom, which used to be a symbol of division, had now become a demilitarised area in which not even a single pistol exists.
He said the two Koreas withdrew guard posts inside the Demilitarized Zone, thereby transforming the DMZ, the very symbol of confrontation, into a peace zone worthy of its name.
President Moon said in the past, unceasing breaches of the Armistice Agreement had raised military tensions and at times escalated the threat of war, but that not a single confrontation had occurred since the inter-Korean comprehensive military agreement was signed on September 19 last year.
“What I would like to inform you about in particular is the fact that a total of 177 sets of remains have been recovered so far from Arrowhead Ridge, site of the fiercest battle of the Korean War waged between South Korean and UN troops on one side and those of North Korea and China on the other,” he said. “Besides the remains of South Korean soldiers, those presumed to belong to soldiers from the United States, China, France and the British Commonwealth have also been retrieved. Sixty-six years after the War, three sets of South Korean soldiers’ remains with confirmed identities have been returned to their families. This is a truly rewarding achievement that was made possible by the efforts to build peace.”
President Moon efforts had also made it possible for President Trump to become the first sitting American President to cross the Military Demarcation Line and set foot on North Korean soil.
He said the easing of military tensions and solid trust among the leaders of both Koreas and the US set the stage for a momentous trilateral meeting at Panmunjeom.
“President Trump’s action in taking Chairman Kim’s hand and stepping over the Military Demarcation Line was, in itself, a declaration of the true beginning of a new era of peace,” said President Moon. “It was a remarkable step that will go down in the history of peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. I hope both leaders will take yet another huge step from there.”