National unity emphasized during Pres. Yoon's May 18 movement commemoration
Updated: 2022-05-18 09:56:33 KST
We begin with President Yoon Suk-yeol attending a ceremony commemorating the May 18th 1980 Pro-Democracy movement in the southwestern city of Gwangju.
During his speech this morning, he delivered a message where the focus was unity and integration.
We have our presidential office correspondent Yoon Jung-min, on the line.
Jung-min, tell us more.
Mark, President Yoon did stress that the May 18 spirit encapsulates "universal" value which could be linked to national unity and integration. Take a look.
"The values of liberal democracy and human rights are the 'philosophy of integration' that unites our people. Therefore, the May spirit, which defended liberal democracy with blood, is the cornerstone of national unity."
He said May 18th is history that is "alive" and should be passed on to the next generation and spread wider to the world.
President Yoon Suk-yeol repeated many times the values of "freedom" and "human rights" during his speech, connecting with the pro-democracy spirit.
And he also pledged economic prosperity for Gwangju and the Honam region.
"Now, Gwangju and the Honam region must achieve great economic prosperity based on universal values of liberal democracy and human rights. We need to leap forward, advancing industry based on AI and cutting-edge technology."
And this message was added at the last-minute by the president himself. Take a listen.
"We all, the people of the Republic of Korea, who love freedom, justice and truth, are the citizens of Gwangju."
And, Jung-min, what would you say was most notable about this year's commemoration?
Well, normally, you wouldn't see that many conservative lawmakers filling up seats at the May 18th commemoration in the liberal stronghold of Gwangju, - but this year it was different.
Some 100 lawmakers from the People Power Party, members of the Cabinet and senior presidential secretaries joined Yoon on this trip.
It was because President Yoon himself had requested that they come with him, as part of his move for integration.
So, dozens of them were on-board the high-speed KTX train this morning along with the President.
And it was very unusual to see a conservative President and politicians sing together with liberal politicians "Marching for Our Beloved ", a song that has often been controversial among politicians.