Yoon calls for unification to fulfill March 1 Independence Movement

President Yoon Suk Yeol and other participants sing a song commemorating the 105th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement during a ceremony at the Memorial Hall of Yu Gwan-sun in Seoul, Friday. Yonhap

President Yoon Suk Yeol said Friday that achieving a free, prosperous and unified Korea was the final goal sought by the independence movement in 1919 against Japan’s colonial rule .In line with this philosophy, the presidential office said that the Yoon administration will work to formulate a new vision for unification. It said this will include the value of liberalism, noting that the current unification plan laid out in 1994, which has served as the basis for South Korea’s unification policy over the past 30 years, has omitted such a concept. Yoon made the remarks in his speech marking the 105th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement against Japan’s 1910-45 colonial occupation .About 1,200 people, including 500 bereaved family members of independence fighters, attended the event. “Now, we must move toward a free, unified Korean Peninsula where the people are its rightful owners,” Yoon said. He said North Korea remains a repressive totalitarian regime and relies solely on nuclear weapons and missiles, driving its 26 million citizens into the worst forms of degradation and poverty.

“Unification is precisely what is needed to expand the universal values of freedom and human rights,” Yoon said. “Our unification efforts must become a source of hope and a beacon of light for the people of North Korea. “Vowing to continue to help people in the reclusive regime and provide North Korean defectors with support, Yoon said that the government, earlier this year, decided to designate July 14 as North Korean Defectors’ Day. Yoon added that all types of independence efforts — from armed struggle and diplomatic efforts to educational and cultural movements — must be fairly recognized, and their history should be passed down correctly from generation to generation. “Following the defeat of imperialism, we were able to gain independence thanks to all these pioneering endeavors … No one is allowed to monopolize history,” Yoon said. Though Yoon did not directly mention the name, some construe the remarks as him underscoring the need to reevaluate former President Syngman Rhee, controversial for his 12-year dictatorial rule as South Korea’s first president and his hardline anti-communist views, despite his contributions to the country’s independence movement. The Yoon administration has been making efforts to bring up the former president’s achievements by, for example, supporting the construction of Rhee’s memorial.

Regarding relations with Japan, Yoon said that the two nations have become partners in pursuing global peace and prosperity and are working together to overcome the “painful past” and move toward a new future. “The security cooperation between the two countries against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats has been strengthened further,” Yoon said. “Korea and Japan are building a closer partnership in industry, finance and cutting-edge technologies, and 9.28 million people traveled back and forth between our two countries last year. “Yoon also mentioned rescue operations conducted during armed conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, during which both countries helped evacuate each other’s citizens. “I hope that the 60th anniversary of Korea and Japan normalizing diplomatic relations next year will serve as an opportunity to take our bilateral relationship to a higher level, one that is more productive and constructive. “A high-level official at the presidential office said the reciprocal visits by leaders of the two nations last year — after a 12-year hiatus — mean 스포츠토토존 the two can meet at any time, though there is no immediate plan for a Seoul-Tokyo summit.

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