On 17 March 2022, Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of Unification Lee In-Young delivered a congratulatory speech at the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network’s Conference on mobilising international, political, and financial support for an effective Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR Plus) initiative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The conference were sponsored by the ROK Ministry of Unification. To learn more about the project, click here.
MINISTER LEE’S CONGRATULATORY REMARK
[Official English Translation]
Mr. Chairman Chung-in Moon, Senator Sam Nunn, Dr. Leon Segal, Minister Marty Nathalegawa, and distinguished guests, Good morning. I am In-young Lee, the Minister of Unification of the Republic of Korea.
I am delighted to be here with you who are from all corners of the world through this VTC. Once again, I would like to extend my peace greetings to each and every one of you.
In September last year, the subject matter experts from the Republic of Korea and the United Stated had a discussion on “Discovery of Cooperative Solutions for Denuclearization of North Korea.” I would like to convey my sincere gratitude for holding this international meeting again today by further developing the topic and I, as the Minister of Unification, consider today’s meeting to be very momentous.
First, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN) for hosting this meeting.
Furthermore, I would like to extend my appreciation and welcome to each and every government officials and academic experts who prepared keynote speeches, presentations, and discussions.
During the meeting in September last year, we discussed the implications of the former soviet states’ experience in dismantling nuclear weapons in the 1990s to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In this regard, energy and health security such as COVID-19 were mentioned as the corresponding measures that North Korea is likely to accept in exchange for denuclearization.
What is more, we paid our attention to the fact that the crux in the denuclearization process is to convert subject-matter experts in science and technology, equipment and operation systems to civilian purposes. And we discussed the ways to plan it to meet the reality and the need in North Korea.
I know that we are touching on major points in the implementation of the DPRK CTR + project based on the previous discussion.
First, I look forward to your wisdom regarding how to secure the international community’s support and consensus to move forward with such project.
Next, I would like to look at other international projects together such as the KEDO which was the international consortium to implement the DPRK–U.S. Agreed Framework, the World Bank’s Palestinian Partnership for Infrastructure Trust Fund, and the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI), while reviewing financial factors to increase the feasibility of the project.
As we have the most valuable subject matter experts here with us today who will share their insights and experience, I will also study together with high expectation.
I hope that today will be fruitful to each other and provide an opportunity to lay small stepping stones on our journey towards peace and co-prosperity for the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
As you are well aware, resolution of North Korean nuclear issue on the Korean
Peninsula is the most urgent and desperately important task.
Avoiding this issue makes it difficult to fully realize the fundamental establishment of peace and development of inter-Korean relations.
The Republic of Korea will play its responsible role to devise creative and fundamental solutions to address the issue as a responsible member of the international community and a country directly involved in the Korean Peninsula issue.
In particular, if we look back in history, conceptualizing what needs to be done after the path towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula opens is indispensable while working tirelessly for the denuclearization through signing of agreements and cooperation among countries concerned.
I believe that it is our task to make realistic and feasible routes and roadmaps for the denuclearization in advance.
To this end, our commitment to find specific areas of cooperation by exploring the concept of ‘Applying CTR to the Korean Peninsula’ and considering the extent to which North Korea is going to accept our proposals and their future accession to the international community is meaningful.
The Republic of Korea will remain faithful in its commitment to accumulate wisdom and expand consensus at home and abroad by communicating with the international community.
We will listen attentively to ideas for realistic denuclearization roadmaps through engagement with countries related, experts, and international organizations and do our utmost to establish an irreversible and sustainable structure of peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula until the end.
The current situation in Eurasia is extremely grave. As you know, a war broke out after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and many citizens are still suffering.
The Republic of Korea, who experienced the disasters of war in the past, supports peace and stability in Ukraine and joins the international community’s efforts to that end.
Likewise, North Korea launched several missiles from early this year on the Korean Peninsula and hinted to destroy its moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons and ICBM which raises military tension incrementally.
Particularly, tensions between South and North Korea get heightened easily between mid-March and April and concerns raised over the situation given the upcoming major schedule in North Korea such as the 110th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung.
However, under any circumstances, any hostile acts cannot be justified. It is not helpful for peace on the Korean Peninsula at all and makes it difficult to resolve the problem as it would undermine mutual confidence.
Once again, we urge North Korea to return to the path of dialogue and cooperation while immediately halting acts which go counter to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and create instability in the region.
Spring has arrived on the Korean Peninsula.
I hope that we sever a vicious cycle of confrontation and conflict and make the great transformation into peace and cooperation through the spirit of spring.
To this end, we need dialogue, diplomacy, communication and cooperation more than ever.
The Republic of Korea Government is not going to give up even until the end of its term and committed to making meaningful progress to make a breakthrough in engagement with North Korea for denuclearization and peace.
Furthermore, even with the new inauguration of the next administration, the ROK should continue its efforts to achieve irreversible and unwavering peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Given that the Biden administration is also in a position that it can discuss the subjects that interest North Korea anytime, anywhere, without conditions, it would be up to North Korea to open the door to dialogue and diplomacy.
If we stop escalating tensions and deliver news about peace through the power of dialogue and diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula – a land of division and located at the eastern end of Eurasia – it will be the great hope for the international community.
Once again, I would like to thank you for joining our journey.
I wish you every success in your future endeavors and look forward to constructive discussions.