Honorable Chair, heads of state and government, representatives from member states,
It is very meaningful for me to be able to share with you a vision for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
ASEM has always been a partner on the journey toward peace on the Peninsula. In 2000 when the first inter-Korean summit took place, the 3rd ASEM Summit was held in Seoul. Member states welcomed with one voice the results of the inter-Korean summit and adopted the Seoul Declaration for Peace on the Korean Peninsula.
At the 4th ASEM Summit in 2002, President Kim Dae-jung proposed an initiative for an iron Silk Road to link railroads in Eurasia and on the Korean Peninsula. The plan attracted keen attention from countries in Asia and Europe.
Even last year when tensions on the Korean Peninsula reached a peak, Asian and European countries provided unwavering support for the idea that peaceful and diplomatic approaches would be the only solution.
In February this year, miraculous changes began to take place on the Korean Peninsula on the occasion of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Through the Panmunjom Declaration, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the Sentosa Agreement, the leaders of South and North Korea and the United States reconfirmed our mutual trust and promised complete denuclearization and the settlement of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Now, we look ahead to the 2nd U.S.-North Korea summit and the 4th inter-Korean summit of my Administration. In terms of denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula, we now have entered the stage of full-fledged practice and implementation.
Member countries of ASEM expressed their unsparing support and intentions to contribute to denuclearization on the Peninsula. I take this opportunity to express my profound appreciation to all ASEM member nations for standing by us as partners for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Europe established a significant milestone in human history.
Politically, it overcame the Cold War rivalry, in which ideological confrontations and arms races intensified. Economically, it launched the European Coal and Steel Community, which gave rise to the European Union.
I believe that integration and harmony can also be achieved on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Dissolving the last Cold War rivalry that lingers on the Korean Peninsula replicates the process of creating a peaceful and prosperous order in Europe.
When conditions are right, South and North Korea will pursue economic cooperation in earnest. This will naturally lead to multilateral security partnerships, going beyond economic cooperation in Northeast Asia.
Reflecting this vision, I proposed in August this year the creation of the East Asian Railroad Community encompassing six East Asian nations as well as the United States.
South and North Korea have already embarked on joint research to reconnect severed railroads and roads. Close consultations with related countries are also underway.
I ask you heads of state and government and representatives of the ASEM member nations to continue sending as much interest and support as you have.
Achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula will make Asia and Europe more prosperous. Our young generations will crisscross various parts of the ASEM member nations and realize our dreams.