|▲ U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies this morning (ⓒYonhap)|
This morning, U.S. President Barack Obama chose the first major public speech of his latest visit to Seoul to send a message directly to the North Korean leadership of Kim Jong Eun, urging his regime to give the people of North Korea the chance to prosper that they deserve.
“The U.S. has no hostile intent toward your country. We are committed to peace. And we are prepared to take steps to improve relations, which is why we have offered nutritional aid to North Korean mothers and children,” he declared in the special lecture for more than 700 students at Hanguk Institute of Foreign Studies, South Korea’s premier foreign language university.
“But by now it should be clear,” he went on. “Your provocations and pursuit of nuclear weapons have not achieved the security you seek. Instead of the dignity you desire, you are more isolated. Instead of earning the respect of the world, you have been met with stronger sanctions and condemnation.”
If the current situation continues, President Obama added, the only result will be "more broken dreams, more isolation, and ever more distance between the people of North Korea and the dignity and opportunity that they deserve.”
So, he declared, “To the leaders in Pyongyang I say; this is the choice before you, this is the decision that you must make. Today we say, Pyongyang; have the courage to pursue peace and give a better life to the people of North Korea.”
Citing Germany as his example, President Obama also expressed confidence that unification will come, claiming, “The currents of history cannot be held back forever. The deep longing for freedom and dignity will not go away. So, too, on this divided peninsula. The day Koreans long for will not come easily or without great sacrifice. But make no mistake; it will come.”
“And when it does, change will unfold that once seemed impossible. Checkpoints will open and watchtowers will stand empty. Families long separated will finally be reunited. The Korean people will at long last be whole, and free,” he asserted.
But he also took the chance to buttress the security alliance between the U.S. and South Korea in the meantime, declaring, “The security we seek, the peace we want is closer at hand because of the great alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea. We stand for the dignity and freedom of all Koreans. No matter the test, no matter the trial, we stand together, we work together, we go together.”
President Obama spent yesterday afternoon at Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea before his first meeting with President Lee Myung Bak of this, his third trip to Seoul. He will travel from this morning’s speech to the 2nd Nuclear Security Summit, which opens later in the day at COEX in Gangnam.