The honorable Korean War veterans, distinguished guests from home and abroad,
It is a pleasure to be with you here. I am very gratified to see you in good health. I wholeheartedly welcome those Korean War veterans, their families and diplomatic delegations, in particular, who have traveled long distances from overseas.
This year marks the 67th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, an extensive period of time having passed. More than anything else, however, I would like to say that the Republic of Korea and its people never forget the sacrifices and dedication of the Korean War veterans from home and abroad. I will do everything in my power to ensure that your contributions will be remembered going forward as especially priceless in the history of Korea.
Honorable Korean War veterans,
Today’s proud Republic of Korea stands on the brilliant, indomitable spirit of the members of the Korean Armed Forces and the United Nations Forces who fought in the War and are joining us here today.
The Korean and U.N. troops risked their lives fighting to defend freedom and peace. Such grit and determination helped protect the Republic of Korea and produced a harvest of remarkable economic growth and democracy. The dedication of volunteer soldiers, volunteer student soldiers and underage conscripted soldiers who rose up resolutely in the face of the national crisis served as a great boost for the protection of the country. It has grown into the mature civic consciousness of the Republic of Korea today.
Specially invited this year are female military service members, female volunteer soldiers, Korean expat veterans and members of the Civilian Transportation Corps and the Korean Service Corps as well as returned prisoners of war. The Government will take care of every single one of those who readily fought to save the country from the crisis.
All the Korean War veterans are the pride of the Republic of Korea, and every single one of you are part of Korean history. The task entrusted to me as President is to make all of you feel a sense of pride in this unquestionable fact.
The Government will repay you all with due benefits with utmost sincerity. The increase in honor allowances, medical services, welfare and burial facilities for war veterans is the basic duty the country should be responsible for. The Government will work to raise war veteran honor allowances and expand medical welfare services to honor their sacrifices and contributions with appropriate treatment.
It is also important to remember the names of war veterans. The Government will continue the efforts to identify unregistered war veterans to keep them on record. It will prove by practice that the best welfare policy for war veterans is the foundation of firm security as well as a path leading to national unity and a strong nation.
Korean War veterans and distinguished guests,
We are here together with the Korean War veterans of the U.N. Forces and their families as well. As a well-known phrase reads, they willingly came "to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met" and made sacrifices with great devotion. On behalf of the Republic of Korea, I would like to express my utmost respect and appreciation to the member states of the United Nations that sent troops as well as the war veterans from those countries.
Today we are also joined by the heroes of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir and the Hungnam Evacuation from North Korea. These two historic occasions became well known even to postwar generations in Korea who did not experience the war. Thanks to the successful rescue operation, the son of a refugee from Hungnam could become the President of the Republic of Korea and join you all today. I hope this fact helps make the Korean War veterans of the U.N. Forces feel a sense of delight and reward.
The Republic of Korea will never ever forget our friendship forged in blood and make efforts to cherish it. In this connection, I promise that the Republic of Korea will strive to make contributions to world peace and prosperity so that the faith in humanity all of you practiced with devotion will shine further.
Honorable Korean War veterans,
The Korean War is a painful part of history. Most of the Korean Peninsula suffered the ravages of the war, and millions of people were killed or injured. The united efforts of the people made it possible to restore the ruined land, but the wounds in our hearts have yet to be healed completely.
The wounds of the division and pains of separated families persist today. The guns pointed at each other still remain as a source of grudges. No matter how much time has passed, the pain of losing a family member, a comrade and even a hometown is not going to be easily washed away.
Nonetheless, we need to move forward. I believe that for the sake of ourselves, our children and grandchildren, it is this very moment that we need courage and determination again.
Despite our own and international efforts for peace, North Korea is threatening the safety of the Korean Peninsula and repeating its provocations. It is something that deserves to be denounced. My Administration and I will not hesitate even a little in protecting the safety of the people and nation. I will safeguard national security with the unwavering ROK-U.S. alliance and the overwhelming national defense capability. We all are well aware that peace is possible only when it is backed by strong and solid security.
At the same time, my Administration and I will leave the door open for dialogue so that the North would give up its nuclear program on its own and choose the path toward peace and prosperity. There may well be many difficulties as well as twists and turns ahead, but only the peace created through dialogue and cooperation will be sound and sustainable.
I hope veterans like you all will be able to join us together. If veterans like you all become an added force and reliable supporters of the President who champions the cause of national security and peace, peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula would be brought a little forward.
Honorable Korean War veterans and distinguished guests,
I will visit the United States and have a summit next week. President Donald Trump and I will put our heads together to reinforce the Korea-U.S. alliance and solve the North Korean nuclear issue. I will further solidify cooperation with the international community.
I believe that more strongly protecting and further developing freedom and democracy, achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula by eliminating the concern of war and, thus, contributing to world peace are ways to repay the sacrifice and dedication of the Korean War veterans.
Again, I would like to express my gratitude and respect to you all, and I hope all of you will have a pleasant and comfortable time.
Thank you very much.