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South Korea President Roh Mooh-hyun's on Inter-Korean summit agreements, October 8, 2007

Nuclear Issue to be on the path to resolution, October 8, 2007.

The following is part of President Roh Moo-hyun's speech to the National Assembly proposing the 2008 national budget, which covers agreements made during his Oct. 2-4 inter-Korean summit. The speech was read by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on the President's behalf.

The South-North Korean relationship has entered a new phase. We can now have confidence in the settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula. The two Koreas have just taken a giant step toward common prosperity and an era of Northeast Asia.

On Oct. 4, the leaders of the South and North signed the Declaration on the Advancement of South-North Korean Relations, Peace and Prosperity. Based on the achievements over the past seven years since the June 15 Joint Declaration, we formulated a framework for institutionalizing peace as well as military confidence building. We also spelled out a new vision of improved inter-Korean relations in a comprehensive and concrete manner.

The South and North have agreed to closely work together for the advancement of inter-Korean relations and peace on the basis of mutual respect and trust. The two also concurred on the need to engage in consultations with the countries concerned to officially end the Korean War in a bid to transform the existing armistice regime into a permanent peace regime.

I am convinced that the North Korean nuclear issue will be expeditiously and completely resolved as the Six-Party Talks held before the recent summit made headway and elicited an agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which was subsequently reaffirmed by the leaders of the two Koreas.

In addition, the South and the North have agreed to further expand and develop inter-Korean economic projects for the sake of the common prosperity of the Korean people. At this moment, about 18,000 workers from the South and the North are working together in the Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Around 1,000 people are traveling back and forth between the two Koreas through reopened routes that had remained severed for more than half a century. Inter-Korean trade is expected to reach US$1.7 billion this year.

But, we should not be satisfied with the current achievements. We need to take another step forward.

At the summit, we paved the way to expand mutual communication and reduce logistics cost by opening the newly linked segment of the Seoul-Sinuiju Railway Line and resolving problems concerning passage of people, communications and customs clearance.

The South and North both recognized the need to remove stumbling blocks on the path to inter-Korean economic cooperation. Based on this recognition, the second-phase development of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex will be launched and additional industrial complexes like the one in Gaeseong will be constructed.

The North also accepted the proposal by the South Korean Government to develop a special peace and cooperation zone in the West Sea as part of a comprehensive project, which will serve as a driving force for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. This innovated idea is aimed at transforming the heavily fortified military and security belt into a zone of peace and prosperity. We will take the approach of economic cooperation in addressing the issue of military tension on the West Sea while leaving the existing Northern Limit Line (NLL) intact.

Industrial cooperation with the North will be further expanded. An inter-Korean complex for shipbuilding will be constructed and cooperation in such fields as agriculture, public health, medicine and the environment will be stepped up.

The inter-Korean economic projects agreed upon at the summit will promote coexistence and cooperation, serving as opportunities for investment by the South and economic development in the North.

These efforts will inject new vitality into businesses in the South, expediting the establishment of an inter-Korean economic community. Once the economic community is formed, a virtuous cycle between peace and a brisk economy will take hold on the Peninsula. It will, in turn, eventually place Korea at the center of a large market in Northeast Asia.

On top of these, the two sides agreed to bolster exchanges and cooperation in the social and cultural fields, including the launch of direct flights for tourism from Seoul to Mt. Baekdu and the formation of a joint cheering squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Also to be boosted will be humanitarian cooperation, including regular reunions of separated family members and their relatives and exchanges of video messages.

Fellow Koreans,

The inter-Korean summit was not the end of the road, but the starting point for carrying out a new historic task. It is important to faithfully implement the agreements made.

While closely cooperating with the international community, the Government will successfully manage and realize the results of the summit based on inter-Korean trust and understanding.

To this end, the leaders of the South and North agreed to meet more often to consult on pending issues. As a starter, the Prime Ministers and Defense Ministers of the two sides will meet in November and discuss action plans to implement the 2007 South-North Korean Summit Declaration. The existing economic cooperation committee will be upgraded to a Joint Committee for Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation to be headed by deputy prime minister-level officials, and it will engage in on-going consultations.

Credit for all these good results should not go to the Participatory Government alone. All the Korean people should be given credit for that. I urge the Korean people to show continuing interest in and support for the tasks so that the next Administration will be able to reap further achievements on a sustained basis and bring about peace and prosperity on the peninsula.

Source: Republic of Korea President's website, http://english.president.go.kr.

© 2007 The Acronym Institute.