Yesterday afternoon, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un and I held the second inter-Korean summit at Tongilgak on the northern side of Panmunjeom. It has been exactly one month since the first summit was held at Peace House on the southern side of Panmunjeom on April 27.
At the last summit, we two leaders promised to meet at anytime and anyplace without considering protocol if a need arose to put our heads together and discuss issues important to the Koreans.
In the afternoon, the day before yesterday, Chairman Kim conveyed his wish to meet me without any formality, and I readily agreed. I have long emphasized how important it is for the leaders of the two Koreas to meet regularly and communicate directly with each other as a means of overcoming inter-Korean confrontation and discord. It is one of the items contained in the April 27 Panmunjeom Declaration. In this context, I attach a great significance to yesterday’s summit, which was held like a routine meeting between friends, as I do to the historic inter-Korean summit in April. I believe it must be the way the South and the North meet.
My fellow Koreans,
We two leaders had a candid, heart-to-heart conversation ahead of the North Korea-United States summit.
Explaining the result of the summit that U.S. President Donald Trump and I held last week, I delivered the message of President Trump that he has a firm resolve to put an end to hostility against North Korea and work for economic cooperation with the North if Chairman Kim decisively determines complete denuclearization and puts it into action.
In particular, since both Chairman Kim and President Trump are sincerely hoping for the success of their summit, I emphasized that it is necessary for the two sides to engage in direct talks to eliminate misunderstandings and have sufficient preliminary, working-level negotiations concerning the agenda that needs to be agreed upon at the summit. Chairman Kim expressed his agreement.
Chairman Kim made clear once again his intentions to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula as he did in the Panmunjeom Declaration. He expressed his willingness to work together to promote peace and prosperity as well as to put an end to the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North Korea-United States summit.
Sharing a common understanding that the June 12 North Korea-U.S. summit should be held in a successful manner and that our journey for denuclearization and the establishment of a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula must not stop under any circumstances, we two leaders agreed to closely work together to this end.
We also reconfirmed the need to accelerate the implementation of the Panmunjeom Declaration. To this end, we agreed to convene the inter-Korean high-level talks on June 1 to be followed by the talks between the military authorities to ease military tensions and the Red Cross talks for the reunion of separated families.
We gave a high evaluation to the fact that the summit yesterday was arranged in a speedy manner without sticking to formalities as the occasion demanded and agreed to communicate or sit together to have candid discussions whenever necessary.
In hindsight, we have always felt uneasy for a long time through last year. Anxiety and fear about our security not only affected the economy and diplomacy but also the daily lives of the people. This was one of the biggest reasons that led Korea’s politics to fall behind.
However, we are now changing the course of history. We made the PyeongChang Winter Olympics an Olympics of peace and paved a new way of peace and prosperity at Panmunjeom, which used to be a symbol of tension and confrontation in the past.
North Korea showed its determination by voluntarily suspending nuclear tests and missile launches and dismantling the nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.
This is only a start. However, it is not anything that has been witnessed in the past. It will be a whole new beginning.
When the top of a mountain starts to become visible, taking a step forward becomes even harder. As such, the road to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace will never be easy. However, as President, I will take the road and will succeed without fail by fully exercising my authority and fulfilling the duty entrusted to me by the Korean people.
I hope all of you join the effort altogether.
Thank you very much.