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Remarks by President Park Geun-hye at the ceremony commemorating the participation of U.N. Forces in the Korean War

Source : Cheong Wa Dae

Remarks by President Park Geun-hye at the Ceremony Commemorating the Participation of U.N. Forces in the Korean War and the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice Agreement

My fellow Koreans and distinguished guests from home and abroad who are taking part in this meaningful gathering,

Today we are gathered here to commemorate the U.N. Forces' participation in the Korean War and the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement.

I wholeheartedly welcome Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand, government representatives of participating countries, government representatives of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission and Korean War veterans.

I pay my utmost respect to the approximate 178,000 fallen soldiers and 555,000 wounded warriors for their sacrifices and devotion in the interest of safeguarding Korea. My deepest appreciation also goes to all veterans.

The Republic of Korea designated July 27 as U.N. Forces Participation Day to pay tribute to the sacrifices and devotion of U.N. forces. The noble spirit of the U.N. veterans who dedicated themselves to the defense of freedom and peace on the Korean Peninsula and the decorated veterans who gave their all to the cause of defending the country will live forever in our hearts and minds.

My fellow citizens,

The sound of gunfire on the Korean Peninsula ceased 60 years ago today, yet the ravages of war had turned homes and communities into a heap of ashes. Notwithstanding, the Korean people rose up and overcame their desperation. With all their soul and might, they committed themselves to rebuilding the country. As a result of that devotion, Korea emerged as the vibrant eighth largest trading nation in the world and IT powerhouse known for the best infrastructure anywhere. This remarkable miracle did not come easily. It was made possible thanks to the freedom and peace that was safeguarded by the blood and sweat of our war veterans as well as by the sacrifices and endeavors of all the Korean people.

I am very proud of my great fellow Koreans and will ensure that the sublime sacrifices and will of the veterans are remembered for generations as an important part of history.

In the days ahead, I will do my utmost to further safeguard the freedom and peace of the Republic of Korea and lay the foundation for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Taking it a step further, I will build Korea into a nation that contributes to the wellbeing of humanity, reaffirming the great worth of the sacrifices and dedication of our veterans.

My fellow citizens,

Over the past 60 years, peace on the Korean Peninsula has remained unstable; it could have been shattered at any moment. The world's longest ceasefire, a temporary stoppage of war, continues today.

Now is high time for us to put an end to animosity and confrontation and build a new Korean Peninsula. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, we now have to make endeavors to usher in a new era of peace and hope.

I will never tolerate any provocation that poses a threat to the life and property of our people. On the strength of resolute deterrent capabilities and close cooperation with the international community, I will make my best efforts to ensure that the North will no longer harbor any intention to provoke us but rather will come forward to become a responsible member of the international community.

I will not cease working to build a new Korean Peninsula. On the basis of consistent principles and mutual confidence, I will engage the North in dialogue that builds trust, and I will work for the settlement of peace on the Peninsula. If North Korea made the right choice, exchanges and cooperation would be expanded, and we would redouble our efforts to open the way for joint development. I would like to take this occasion to urge North Korea once more to give up its nuclear development and to take the road toward genuine change and peace.

We who stand in the 21st century must now walk in step for the sake of world peace and the prosperity of all humankind. All people, no matter the country they live in, have the right to be free and to live in happiness.

It is time for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and embark on the kind of change that will ensure the basic needs of its people and guarantee their freedoms. It is my hope that all of the people on the Korean Peninsula will dwell in freedom, peace and happiness, and I will work to see this hope realized.

For the past 60 years, the Korean Armistice Agreement has played the role of preventing war and protecting peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Demilitarized Zone established by Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Armistice was a way to protect a minimum of peace. But contrary to its name, the DMZ has become one of the most heavily militarized areas in the world.

My vision for the DMZ is to see it transformed, so that the weapons disappear, one small area at a time, until the entire place becomes one where peace and trust can grow. If the two sides who once pointed guns at each other, who ended hostilities with the Armistice Agreement, were to come together in agreement to create a peace park in accordance with international norms and procedures, this would be the very starting point for peace and unification on the Korean Peninsula. I ask that all of you here would take an interest and also take part in the creation of a world peace park in the DMZ.

Fellow citizens, distinguished guests,

The Republic of Korea is a legacy that attests to the inestimable worth of our universal values of freedom and democracy and to the rightness of the international community's efforts to safeguard them. We will continue to share the experience of our development and our achievements with the world, taking part in efforts to protect freedom and peace and actively contributing to the cause of shared prosperity for all people around the world.

My deepest respect goes to all of you veterans and to all of the people who gave themselves in sacrifice and devotion so that Korea could be what it is today. I will do all I can to ensure that these acts of service inspire lasting pride.

Thank you very much.

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