Seventeen years after the world witnessed the shaking of hands and signing of the Inter-Korean Joint Declaration between the then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il,
a ceremony celebrating its anniversary was held in Seoul on Thursday evening.
And for the first time since 2006, a sitting South Korean president attends the anniversary of the historic joint declaration.
President Moon Jae-in entered the hall alongside with Lee Hee-ho, the former first lady and the widow of the late President Kim Dae-jung.
About 900 people, including the mayor of Seoul, also attended.
“We are here to commemorate the June 15 Inter-Korean summit.
To remember former President Kim Dae-jung’s anguish, courage, and historic determination.
And to restore the spirit of that moment.”
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During his speech, President Moon stressed the significance of the joint declaration signed in 2000, which said that through the joint efforts of the people of both South and North Korea, problems within the peninsula could be resolved.
He also mentioned that the joint declaration was a promise between the two Koreas to establish peace, end hostility, and ease military tensions.
President Moon vowed to continue the efforts to bring about peace and reconciliation in the peninsula by making the joint declaration a reality, through bipartisanship and public support.
But he also stressed it won't be a one-way street.
"As long as North Korea stops further nuclear and missile provocations, we are willing to talk with Pyongyang without any reservation."
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President Moon has been continuously stressing the importance of international cooperation and the balance between dialogue and sanctions to bring Pyongyang to the negotiation table.
But North Korea has launched five missile tests since President Moon's inauguration last month, and continues to put the blame on Seoul for intensifying the already heightened tension between the two Koreas.
Hwang Hojun, Arirang News.