Thanks to your support, I just got back from Pyeongyang on a positive note. As you witnessed, we reached a fine agreement at the inter-Korean summit and received the most gracious hospitality.
More than anything else, I want to stress how significant it was that Chairman Kim Jong Un and I had several meetings over the past three days and could have long, candid conversations. I would like judge the visit as a great contribution to the remarkably advancing inter-Korean relations and trust-building between we two leaders.
Despite a short preparatory period, the North welcomed our delegation whole heartedly. As we traveled back and forth in Pyeongyang, we were enthusiastically welcomed and seen off by the local citizenry at the airport and along the streets. I cannot but express my extraordinary gratitude to them. I am also grateful to local residents who warmly greeted and gave a send-off to me at Samjiyon Airport on the way to and from Baekdusan Mountain.
I was given an opportunity to address 150,000 Pyeongyang citizens at a mass gymnastics performance held at May Day Stadium, the first ever by a President of the Republic of Korea. They gave resounding rounds of applause to my speech, stating that the Korean Peninsula must be turned into a land of peace, free of nuclear weapons and nuclear threats for good.
My fellow Koreans,
Over the past three days, Chairman Kim Jong Un and I had multiple conversations about denuclearization as well as U.S- North Korea dialogue. On the first day of our talks, we spent most of the time discussing denuclearization. Chairman Kim Jong Un time and again confirmed his unwavering commitment to denuclearization. He expressed the hope of finishing complete denuclearization as soon as possible, and then focusing on economic development.
However, as the four provisions of U.S.-North Korea Joint Statement must be implemented simultaneously, and if the United States takes corresponding measures in accordance with the spirit of the agreement, he expressed his willingness to continue to take additional denuclearization measures, including the permanent demolition of the Yeongbyeon nuclear facilities.
To clarify his intention once more, he pledged to permanently dismantle the Dongchangri missile engine test site and missile launch pad under the observation of experts from the countries concerned.
The terms “observation” and “permanent” dismantlement that the North used in the Pyeongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018 have the same meaning as a verifiable and irreversible dismantlement ultimately.
For the acceleration of the denuclearization process, Chairman Kim expressed the hope that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would visit the North and that the second North Korea-U.S. summit with President Donald Trump would be held as early as possible.
In this way, the North has engaged in earnest talks with the South concerning concrete measures for denuclearization, a complete departure from the past. The North had up to this time expressed its intention for complete denuclearization, but as for specific measures, it maintained the position that those negotiations had to be conducted with the United States, thereby refusing to discuss them with the South. With North Korea-U.S. talks faltering and North Korea coming to share the perception that progress in its talks with the United States is closely related to the development of inter-Korean relations, the North requested mediation from the South in its talks with the United States. It has also proposed that the two Koreas work closely together to realize complete denuclearization.
I hope the United States will resume its dialogue with North Korea as early as possible while trying to understand the North’s commitment and position from its point of view. I believe the Inter-Korean Summit in Pyeongyang has created the conditions for the resumption of North Korea-U.S. talks.
Regarding South-North relations, military agreements are the most important results of the summit. If these agreements are implemented properly, the South and North can move toward discussions about reducing the military forces and weapons that threaten each side, including the long-range artillery targeting our capital area.
This development would go beyond ending the Korean War that has remained unfinished since the signing of the armistice agreement, eradicating any possibility of war between the two Koreas in the future. Though not contained in the Declaration, some points have been verbally agreed upon. The South and North agreed to hold an inter-Korean parliamentary meeting soon. We agreed to step up exchanges between the local governments of the South and North. I asked Chairman Kim Jong Un to revoke the North’s confiscation measure regarding the Geumgansan reunion center so that its full operation can resume. The Chairman agreed to this.
This year marks the 1,100th anniversary of the Goryeo Dynasty. To celebrate the occasion, I suggested to Chairman Kim Jong Un that cultural artifacts from the North be displayed together at the “Goryeo: Glory of Korea” exhibition to be held in December, and Chairman Kim agreed to work together on the matter.
A South-North joint liaison office was opened in Gaeseong on September 14 right before I departed for Pyeongyang. A new era in which we have regular inter-Korean dialogues and cooperation has begun. Chairman Kim’s visit to Seoul would not only mean the regularization of inter-Korean summits but also the opening of an era when people travel back and forth regularly between the two Koreas. The date of Chairman Kim’s visit was specified as “before long” to provide ample time to prepare, but it was agreed that the visit should take place within this year, if possible.
I hope that the people of South Korea will have an opportunity to see Chairman Kim in person and listen to his thoughts about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as well as peace and prosperity narrated in his own voice.
Today, I visited Baekdusan Mountain before returning to Seoul. I made a pledge to myself while at Cheonji Lake atop the mountain. I will do my best to ensure at the earliest date possible that South Koreans can travel to this mountain via North Korea instead of China.
From now on, my Administration will put in place an inter-ministerial framework to swiftly implement the Pyeongyang Joint Declaration. We will hold high-level talks with North Korea as soon as possible and make our utmost efforts to ensure that today’s achievements actually enhance the lives of the people.
Once again, I ask for supra-partisan cooperation by the National Assembly. The Pyeongyang Summit has ended successfully, all thanks to the strength, support and encouragement of the people.
Peace is the long-waited desire of everyone who lives on the Korean Peninsula. I will always be in step with the will of the people on the path toward achieving this goal.