Moon emphasizes inter-Korean peace and ending Korean War in address to Korea Society

Posted on : 2020-10-09 16:54 KST Modified on : 2020-10-09 16:54 KST
S. Korean president continues to promote peace process despite unfavorable developments in relations
South Korean President Moon Jae-in addresses the Korea Society via videoconference on the importance of inter-Korean peace on Oct. 8. (provided by the Blue House)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in addresses the Korea Society via videoconference on the importance of inter-Korean peace on Oct. 8. (provided by the Blue House)

On Oct. 8, South Korean President Moon Jae-in once again underlined the need to officially end the Korean War. His remarks came about two weeks after he mentioned an end-of-war declaration in a video address to the UN General Assembly last month. This suggests that Moon means to keep promoting his administration’s Korean Peninsula peace process despite a number of unfavorable developments, including the fatal shooting of an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the postponement of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to South Korea.

Moon made the remarks in a keynote address for the yearly dinner of the Korea Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes exchange between South Korea and the US. The address was broadcast via videoconference on Thursday.

“The end-of-war declaration will indeed pave the way for peace on the Korean Peninsula, and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula is the only genuine way to reciprocate the sacrifices and dedication of the Korean War veterans,” Moon said. “I hope that our two countries work toward the end-of-war declaration and draw active participation from the international community in this regard.”

During his virtual speech before the UN General Assembly on Sept. 22, Moon said, “The end-of-war declaration will, indeed, open the door to complete denuclearization and a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

Speech this time targeted US figures sympathetic to S. Korea

If Moon’s speech to the UN was targeted at leaders of the global community, his latest speech represented an appeal to American figures who are sympathetic to South Korea to lend their support to the end-of-war declaration.

“We can neither allow any backtracking on hard-earned progress nor change our destination,” Moon emphasized in his speech on Thursday.

Public sentiment toward North Korea has hardened in the wake of the fatal shooting of an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries by North Korean soldiers last month, and the cancellation of Pompeo’s visit to South Korea decreased the likelihood of inter-Korean relations improving before the US presidential election. Nonetheless, Moon reiterated that he remains committed to improving inter-Korean relations through dialogue.

Another motivation for Moon’s speech appears to be the fact that he recently explored the possibility of improving relations with North Korea while exchanging personal letters with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Last month, the two leaders swapped encouraging letters in which they expressed mutual concerns over flood damage following an unusually long monsoon season and the continuing battle with COVID-19.

Yun Hui-seok, a spokesperson for the main opposition People Power Party, issued a statement in response to Moon’s speech on Thursday. “The president’s unending obsession with North Korea, peace, and ending the war is not only sad — it’s scary,” Yun said.

By Seong Yeon-cheol, staff reporter

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