LET THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH OPEN THE WAY TO PEACE AND THE REUNIFICATION OF THE COUNTRY IN A UNITED EFFORT
(Talk to the Delegates to the North-South High-Level Negotiations from Both Sides February 20, 1992)
I am glad today to meet you, the delegates of the two sides, who have successfully concluded the sixth north-south high-level talks. I am satisfied with and highly praise the joint efforts you have made for the Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, Cooperation and Exchange between the North and the South and the Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula which have been effected at this time. The effectuation of these documents is an epoch-making event and a landmark on the way to realizing peace and the reunification of the country. With the north-south agreement and the joint declaration, the north and the south can break with their past of distrust and con- frontation and make a fresh advance towards reconciliation; fur- ther, they are able to eliminate the danger of war and look forward to a bright future of peace and the peaceful reunification of the country. The agreement of the north and the south to reconcile themselves and cooperate with each other and to advance towards reunification has proved irrefutably that neither outside forces nor differences in ideology and system can divide our nation of one and the same blood that has existed for thousands of years. All the Korean compatriots in the north and the south as well as abroad actively support and warmly welcome the success in your talks, regarding it as the common success of the nation and as a historic victory for the national ideal. With the current sixth north-south high-level talks as the impetus, our fellow countrymen have taken an extremely important first step towards the independent and peaceful reunification of the country. This advance should not be stopped and should not falter; it must continue until reunification. To this end, the stand of independence should be maintained above all else. The division of our country caused by outside forces should on all accounts be ended through the efforts of our nation itself. If one side depends on foreign forces and tolerates foreign interference at a time when the country is divided into the north and the south, it can be viewed as a confrontational attitude, not as an attitude for reunification. Such a confrontational attitude will make it impossible to implement the north-south agreements properly and difficult to conduct dialogue responsibly and based on mutual trust. Now that the two sides have agreed on reconciliation, they must discard the idea of confrontation, trust their fellow countrymen and rely on the national force for independence instead of depending on foreign forces. The north and the south must also direct primary attention to achieving peace and adopt practical measures for ensuring peace in the country. Since they have reached an agreement on nonaggression, the north and the south must stop their arms race and realize disarma- ment. Herein lies the surest guarantee for nonaggression and also the way completely to remove the fear of northward or “southward” invasion. There is no need for foreign troops to be in our country, nor is there any reason for foreign military bases to be maintained here. We consider that it is high time for us to reach a decision on this matter. The nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula should also be resolved. We cannot know whether there are still nuclear weapons in south Korea or whether they have all been withdrawn. So we, who have been exposed to a nuclear threat for more than 30 years, are still gravely concerned. As for us, as we have already said on numerous occasions, we are not producing nuclear weapons, nor do we have any need to do so, and we do not possess any. We have no intention of entering into a nuclear confrontation with the neighbouring major powers and, moreover, we cannot conceive of developing nuclear weapons which can exterminate part of our own nation. No one should doubt this. Promoting the great unity of the nation is the basic spirit of the north-south agreement. If the north and the south are to become reconciled and achieve reunification, they should bring about great national unity, transcending the differences in ideas and systems. Opposing each other and regarding the other as a pariah because of differences in ideologies and ideals only produces national disruption. Every Korean should put the common interest of his nation to the fore, subordinate everything to it and unite on the basis of patriotism and the spirit of national independence. We should destroy the barriers in ideology and system and enforce the policies of great national unity and of love for the country and the nation. The agreements which have become effective at the sixth north-south high-level talks are a pledge made by the authorities of the north and the south before the nation. The Government of our Republic regards these historic agree- ments as precious results of our efforts to achieve the independent and peaceful reunification of our country and will make every effort to implement them. We are convinced that if the north and the south build up mutual confidence by working on details, adhering to the principles of independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity, they will be able to give our people greater pleasure in the future and achieve without fail the reunification of the country in the ’90s, which the entire nation desires. In conclusion, I express my hope that the north and the south will make joint efforts to open up the way to peace and the reunification of the country further, and I wish the delegates of the two sides greater success in the future.