The schedule for a second North Korea-U.S. summit has been fixed. It is a remarkable breakthrough in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, which was initiated last year. For us, the era of peace and prosperity on the Peninsula has drawn closer. I hope the upcoming summit will become a historic one that transforms the Korean Peninsula from a land of Cold War vestiges marked by hostility and conflict to a region of peace and prosperity.
In reality, however, there are still many doubts about whether the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the peace process can be concluded successfully. Worse yet, more than a few forces seem to want the era of hostility and conflict to continue. However, the leaders of South and North Korea as well as the United States are walking on the path toward that goal unwaveringly because we have strong confidence in the direction history should take. In particular, I honor the determination of the two leaders of the United State and North Korea, who are making unprecedented, bold diplomatic efforts and crossing a sea of deep mistrust that dates back over 70 years.
Just in its being, the first North Korea-U.S. summit was a historic feat that marked a distinct milestone in world history. The second summit will move one more step forward from there. I expect that the upcoming summit will be a critical watershed in advancing – in a more concrete and tangible manner – the already-agreed-upon broad principles of complete denuclearization and establishing a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula as well as building new relations between the United States and North Korea.
The upcoming summit is particularly significant for us in that it will be able to become a crucial opportunity to raise inter-Korean relations a level higher. Our future rests upon unwavering, steadfast peace. Seizing this opportunity given for the first time following the division of the country will help completely free ourselves from the threat of war and shape a future where peace drives the economy. South and North Korea have to jointly usher in the era of a peace-driven economy where peace serves as a new economic growth engine, going beyond a war-free era of peace.
However, these developments cannot just come fortuitously. Only when we make concerted preparations and efforts with an ardent, unified wish can we turn them into reality. It is never by chance that we find ourselves in the midst of a change once unimaginable just a year ago. It has been made possible because peace is the right path, and our determination found itself upon that path. As we made efforts with an earnest determination, we have been able to turn one idea after another, which others considered to be just pipe dreams, into reality.
In the process, the Government has kept dialogue and communication channels open between the two Koreas and worked together closely with the United States. The Government will fully perform its part going forward with eagerness but also with composure as it has been doing. I hope that the public will join and stand by the Government in its efforts
I believe that the planned visit to the United States by representatives of the National Assembly, including its Speaker and the leadership of both the ruling and opposition parties, is in the same vein. Considering that we are the most important stakeholders in the great transition in world history taking place now on the Korean Peninsula, I hope that the people and politicians will be broad-minded and come together.