Fellow Koreans and residents of Gangwon-do Province, I am pleased to meet you all.
Gangwon-do is where people and nature harmonize together. It is where the people show concern for neighbors and look after nature with unassuming minds. Meandering hills merge together to become tall and steep mountains. Just like Geumgangsan, Seoraksan, Odaesan, Taebaeksan and Chiaksan, we also mingle as naturally as mountain ranges when we come to Gangwon-do.
In the face of the inferno that devastated Gangwon-do on April 4, we demonstrated our strength. Gangwon-do residents put their neighbors’ safety first even at dangerous moments. Watching them take care of one another on their own initiatives, the whole country was moved to act. They proved that we can definitely prevail – even over disasters beyond human control – as long as we are willing to help others as if remedying our own needs. I extend my profound respect and appreciation as well as sympathies to the residents of Gangwon-do.
It is not too much to say that the Republic of Korea stands on the sacrifices of Gangwon-do.
Approximately three fifth of the truce line stretches across Gangwon-do, and its residents have put up with disadvantages for the sake of the Republic of Korea’s security. The water that some 25 million residents of the greater Seoul area drink also flows from Gangwon-do. Mountains that occupy 82 percent of the land of Gangwon-do serve as the lungs of the Republic of Korea.
Gangwon-do residents have had to endure many restrictions so that we could have security as well as clean water and air. Living with such difficulties, they have quietly prepared for the era of peace.
In 1998 – for the first time in the country – it was none other than Gangwon-do that created an organization exclusively charged with inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation. The ARI Sports Cup U-15 International Football Tournament that started in 2014 is one of the iconic peace exchange programs that have continued without interruption even during the period of disrupted inter-Korean relations. In September 2018, an ordinance on inter-Korean exchange and cooperation was enacted, and the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation fund was raised to prepare for the era of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Eventually in the winter of early 2018, Gangwon-do brought a spring of peace to the Republic of Korea. The PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games were the most successful “peace Olympics” in history. The South and North took down the wire fences in our minds and clasped hands. Athletes from the two Koreas marched together at the opening ceremony and sweated together on a unified team.
The “Peace Economy, Gangwon Vision” to be announced today contains the Gangwon-do residents’ aspirations for peace and all of the experience with inter-Korean exchanges gained over the past 20 years.
We at the Government will roll up our sleeves for Gangwon-do. The Government will do its utmost to support Gangwon-do's initiative for the peace-driven economy.
Residents of Gangwon-do and local business leaders,
Peace tourism constitutes the linchpin of the peace economy that Gangwon-do envisions.
Goseong, the northernmost part of the Demilitarized Zone, is now being transformed into a peace zone where South and North Korea meet. At Arrowhead Hill in Cheorwon, a road penetrating the center of the Korean Peninsula was reconnected. The scenic routes of Badabuchae-gil in Gangneung and Badahyanggi-ro in Sokcho have now become tourist attractions.
On April 2, the Government convened an “Expanded Tourism Strategy Meeting” and announced a strategy for peace tourism and eco-tourism.
In the Demilitarized Zone from which guard posts were withdrawn, a trail of peace will be created to enable first-hand experiences with security and peace. A DMZ international peace music festival and a documentary film festival will be held, and the zone will be turned into the heartland of peace tourism featuring history, ecology and culture.
We will strive to make the zone a place that comes to mind whenever people around the world think of peace on the Korean Peninsula and one that everyone wants to visit. We will also continue our efforts to resume tours to Geumgangsan as early as possible.
Gangwon-do’s land, sky and sea have what it takes to open a path toward peace that stretches well beyond the Korean Peninsula.
In my address to the Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan last week, I described a dream about a 21st century “Iron Silk Road.” It was about an enthralling desire to connect Central Asia with the Pacific. We will be able to traverse the Eurasian continent by taking the Donghae Bukbu Line. The day will come when people will travel all the way from the opposite side of the continent and stop to enjoy the sea off Gangneung.
We will strive to reconnect the Line's southern section between Gangneung and Jejin at the earliest date possible. The Donghae Bukbu Line will serve as the main artery for the development of Gangwon-do, and, through the Iron Silk Road, the Korean Peninsula will be able to emerge as a logistics hub in Northeast Asia.
The second Gyeongchun national highway to connect Metropolitan Seoul with Gangwon-do was exempted from a preliminary feasibility study in January this year. Fly Gangwon, a commercial airline that will use Yangyang International Airport as its base, obtained an international air transport license last March. Gangwon-do also envisions being connected to other continents through cruise ships.
The peace economy era will dawn in earnest through routes that traverse the land, sky and sea of Gangwon-do.
The “Peace Economy, Gangwon Vision,” to be unveiled today, contains concrete plans to help realize Gangwon-do’s dream. I am confident that with the kind of capacity exhibited by Gangwon-do residents to date, it can be achieved without fail. There is no other place than Gangwon-do that can better realize that peace equals economic growth. Through tours to Geumgangsan, Gangwon-do has already experienced firsthand that peace can drive economic growth.
The Government will provide its full support. It already confirmed a comprehensive development plan for border areas in February. Nearly 5.9 trillion won will be invested in Gangwon-do by 2030. Cultural, sports, welfare facilities and other infrastructure related to everyday life will be significantly increased in Chuncheon, Cheorwon, Hwacheon, Yanggu, Inje and Goseong, thereby improving the quality of life for residents living in border regions.
Now, our men and women in uniform can leave their bases even on weekdays. We will continue to take interest in creating spaces where they can enjoy rest and cultural activities off base. This will put strength behind invigorating the regional economy.
Efforts will be made to ensure that economic vitality will permeate every nook and cranny of Gangwon-do. The Wonju area, the center of an innovative city and state-of-the-art medical equipment technology cluster, will be cultivated as a foothold in the country’s midsection. We will support Hoengseong’s Gangwon-do-styled, mutually beneficial employment project based on the e-mobility industry, and we will extend our full interest and assistance to Chuncheon’s hydrothermal energy data center and Samcheok’s hydrogen city project.
Fellow Koreans, Gangwon-do residents and local businesspeople,
Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the announcement of the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula.” One year ago, the South and North proclaimed to the whole world that a new era of peace had dawned.
The “Peace Economy, Gangwon Vision” to be unveiled today by Gangwon-do will become a new milestone toward peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
In a bold journey toward achieving denuclearization and establishing a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, the Government, together with Gangwon-do, will prepare for the era of a peace-driven economy on the Peninsula.
Let us show the strengths of Gangwon-do. The strength to help each other; the strength to bear, endure and look far ahead; the strength to hold nature dear and love peace – these strengths of Gangwon-do will serve as a new beginning for the Korean Peninsula.