Address by President Park Geun-hye on the 94th March 1st Independence Movement Day
Mar 04, 2013
Source : Cheong Wa Dae
Fellow Koreans, seven million compatriots overseas and our brethren in the North, decorated patriots who fought for the nation’s independence and distinguished guests,
Today, we celebrate the significant 94th March First Independence Movement Day. Had it not been for the noble sacrifices and devotion of our fallen patriotic forefathers who pushed their way along a thorny path, the Republic of Korea of today would not have been possible.
I am filled with profound respect and gratitude for our martyred ancestors and decorated patriots who dedicated themselves to the nation’s independence, as well as their families.
As the President serving in the 18th presidential term of the Republic of Korea, I will commit myself to upholding the invaluable cause of our patriotic forefathers and ushering in a new era of hope.
The March First Independence Movement is a proud chapter in our history. During this time, the Korean people laid their own foundation for self-reliant independence while under inhospitable colonial rule.
This prompted the establishment of the Provisional Government and a widespread independence movement, which contributed finally to the precious fruition of the country’s liberation and the founding of the Republic of Korea.
On this day in 1919, there was no difference between rich and poor and between one region and another for the 20 million Koreans. They all came together bonded as one by passionate patriotism and the desire for independence.
The Republic of Korea has thus far overcome numerous challenges and hardships at home and abroad and achieved the legacy of the Miracle on the Han River by the coming together of all Koreans in unity. The country has also realized the dream of industrialization and democratization at the same time in the most exemplary fashion in the world.
All this accomplishment is attributable to the great people. I will join you all in making a vigorous stride toward a new era of hope by achieving the goals of economic revival, happiness for the people and cultural enrichment I have unveiled in my inauguration speech.
Exactly 94 years ago in the March First Declaration of Korean Independence, our ancestors emphatically called for the necessity of self-reliant independence “if we are to leave blessing and happiness intact for those who succeed us.”
We have to wisely tackle challenges from inside and outside the country in order to open a new era of happiness for the people, for which our patriotic forefathers yearned so ardently.
Even though the Korean economy has achieved quantitative growth over the years, this has failed to lead to the happiness of individual citizens. I will help create new markets and decent jobs through a creative economy and ensure that the happiness of every single person will serve as the building blocks for increasing the nation’s strength.
As of now, a great number of people feel anxious about their daily lives and about how they will live after retirement since there exist numerous blind spots in the current welfare system. To address this problem, my Administration will establish a tailored welfare system, thereby ensuring a basic living for all in a stable manner.
Our country's splendid cultural heritage dates back nearly five thousand years. Culture constitutes the best means through which we can share our lives and engage in interactions with people across the globe.
Through the efforts to realize a cultural enrichment, I will remain committed to promoting happiness for the people, achieving peaceful reunification on the Korean Peninsula and making the global village a happier place to live in.
I will strive to usher in an era of cultural enrichment by revitalizing the spirit and ethos of our people. In doing so, each and every citizen will be able to enjoy the flavors of culture in their everyday lives. On top of this, culture will serve as a means to bring our people together and promote our sharing with peoples around the world.
My fellow Koreans,
History is a mirror for self-reflection and a key to unlocking a future of new hope.
The same is true for the history between Korea and Japan. Only when there is honest soul-searching about the past will our two nations be able to usher in a future of shared progress together.
The historic dynamic of one party being a perpetrator and the other party a victim will remain unchanged even after a thousand years have passed.
It is incumbent on Japan to have a correct understanding of history and take on an attitude of responsibility in order to partner with us in playing a leading role in East Asia in the 21st century.
Only then will we be able to build rock-solid trust between our two nations, which will in turn enable reconciliation and collaboration in a genuine sense.
We must not place the heavy burden of the past on the future generations of our two nations. It is high time for the political leaders of this generation to demonstrate their determination and courage.
In order for our two nations to heal the wounds of the past as soon as possible and march together toward a future of shared progress, it is necessary for the Japanese Government to change unreservedly and behave in a responsible manner.
My fellow Koreans,
The noble spirit of coexistence and coprosperity of the Korean people is the legacy bequeathed to us by our forefathers who fought hard under the banner of independence of our country through the March First Independence Movement.
Over the years, the Republic of Korea has made steady efforts for peace and reconciliation on the Peninsula. Such efforts have continued despite repeated military provocations by the North, including that which triggered the Korean War.
My aim is to build trust on the Korean Peninsula rooted in robust national security measures for the purpose of laying the foundation for peaceful unification.
To achieve this end, it is critical that North Korea makes the right choices. North Korea must realize that nothing will be gained from nuclear development or provocations save for greater isolation and hardship.
When North Korea abandons its nuclear ambitions and ceases its provocations, it will be able to become a responsible member of the international community.
Only then will the path toward shared development by South and North be opened to us and only then will the trust-building process on the Korean Peninsula begin in earnest.
While provocations by the North will be met by stronger counter-responses, the North’s willingness to make the right choice and walk the path of change will be answered with more flexible engagement.
It is my hope that North Korea will uphold its agreements with South Korea as well as with the international community and walk the path of trust and mutual acknowledgment.
I urge the North to hasten efforts to normalize inter-Korean relations and open an era of happiness on the Korean Peninsula together with us.
The Republic of Korea was forged with the blood and sweat of our forebears. Living up to their great cause, we must by all means carry this nation to its place among the foremost in the world.
I will commit myself fully to leading this nation to overcome without wavering the challenges and crises that threaten from within and without. I will devote my all to the work of securing greater happiness for the people, for the Korean Peninsula and for the global community.
My hope is that the Korean people will also reflect on the spirit of this nation’s patriots, setting aside small differences to partake in a broader movement of sharing and putting the needs of others first. With your help, the currents of conflict and division will give way to a great tide of mutual prosperity and unity.
Let us join forces to open a new era of hope and happiness for all the people.
Thank you very much.
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