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National Affairs

A Peaceful and Prosperous Korean Peninsula

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Peace, a New Start

The Washington Post wrote on February 9, 2018, “With artful simplicity and an earnest message, the Opening Ceremonies delivered on its intent to make peace the star Friday night. It was aspirational, dreamy, idyllic... And then the Korean nations upped the peace ante simply by walking into a stadium together for about four minutes.” Some 50,000 athletes from 92 countries who participated in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games gave a thumbs up to the excellent facilities, extraordinary operations and extra-attentive services. 
Importantly, the whole world hailed the formation of a unified inter-Korean team and the message of peace jointly delivered by South and North Korea, which have been confronting each other over the past seven decades. After the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, a South Korean art troupe visited Pyeongyang in April, bringing the two sides one step closer. 

On April 27, 2018, an inter-Korean summit was held at Panmunjeom’s Peace House on the South’s side of the Demilitarized Zone, and the historic summit signaled to the world a new start for peace on the Korean Peninsula. The leaders of the two Koreas shook hands across the Military Demarcation Line, and Chairman Kim Jong Un stepped across the MDL to become the first North Korean leader to enter the South’s territory since the division, leaving indelible footprints for peace.

After their meeting in the morning, the two leaders walked along a footbridge that had been extended to reach an MDL signpost. As they conversed, the scene was broadcast live throughout the world. After concluding their afternoon talks, the two leaders read the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, which contained their firm commitment to bring a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly open up a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner.

It was the moment when the two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world for the first time in history that there would be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and a new era of peace had begun.

Peace, a New Future

The 2018 inter-Korean summit on April 27 was held successfully, and the United States and North Korea were making preparations to hold their first-ever summit in June. Citing the ROK-U.S. joint military exercises, however, the North began to reconsider the meeting, and the United States announced the summit’s cancellation. Under these circumstances, the leaders of South and North Korea sat down together at Tongilgak on the North Korean side of Panmunjeom on May 26, 2018.

Through the address given to explain the outcome of the May 26 inter-Korean summit, President Moon noted, “...I attach a great significance to yesterday’s summit, which was held like a routine meeting between friends... I believe it must be the way the South and the North meet.” Along with other foreign media outlets, The Wall Street Journal also spoke highly of President Moon’s efforts as a “peacemaker” on May 22, 2018, and the North Korea-U.S. summit finally took place as planned on June 12 in Singapore.

In September 2018, the leaders of South and North Korea met for the third time and embraced each other like friends. President Moon became the first South Korean president to address 150,000 Pyeongyang citizens in person, declaring that “our people must live together.” This scene served as confirmation that the two leaders’ determination for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula was stronger than ever.

“Our people are outstanding.
Our people are resilient.
Our people love peace.
And our people must live together.
We had lived together for five thousand years but apart for just 70 years. Here, at this place today, I propose we move forward toward the big picture of peace in which the past 70-year-long hostility can be eradicated and we can become one again.”

Address by President Moon Jae-in
at the May Day Stadium in Pyeongyang on September 19, 2018

* Address by President Moon Jae-in on 100th March First Independence Movement Day

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