By Lee Hana
"We will usher in, without fail, an era when South and North Korea band together and cooperate for peace and prosperity."
President Moon Jae-in on June 15 said this in a congratulatory message marking the 20th anniversary of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration reached in the first inter-Korean summit.
"I remember President Kim Dae-jung’s remark, 'In the coming 21st century, let us Koreans join hands and soar upward without fail to become an advanced nation through co-existence and co-prosperity,'" he said.
An event to celebrate this milestone was held at Odusan Unification Tower in Paju, Gyeonggi-do Province.
In a message delivered through a video, the president, speaking on worsened inter-Korean relations, said, "As our current situation is complicated, I have come to think again about the courage and wisdom of President Kim Dae-jung, who finally managed to arrange an inter-Korean summit by weathering countless setbacks and severe ideological assaults."
"On June 15, 2000, the leaders of South and North Korea sat down together for the first time in 50 years since the outbreak of the Korean War. They could do so because they believed in the power of dialogue."
He added, "In 2017 when clouds of war were darkening the Korean Peninsula, the leaders of the two Koreas were able to sit face to face again because both were determined to continue to uphold the spirit of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration. The power of dialogue made it possible to complete the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games as a successful 'Peace Olympics' as well as begin the first-ever North Korea-U.S. summit."
The president said he was "well aware of how much Chairman Kim Jong Un has worked to significantly change the situation on the Korean Peninsula." North Korean leader Kim's formal title is chairman of the North's Central Military Commission.
"I also deeply regret that relations not only between the two Koreas but also between North Korea and the United States have not advanced as much as we had expected," President Moon said.
"However, the promise of peace on the Korean Peninsula that I and Chairman Kim Jong Un made before 80 million Koreans cannot be reversed."
The president added, "My administration will not abandon efforts to maintain communication. We will work continuously to implement the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula and the September 19 Pyongyang Joint Declaration of 2018."