President Lee Myung Bak delivered the presidential New Year’s address this Monday morning, once again reiterating both the importance of national security based on firm deterrence and the need for North Korea to change its ways.
Stating that, “Peace does not come free,” President Lee asserted, “Any provocation which threatens our lives and property cannot be excused. For provocations, there must be only resolute and strong punishment.”
“It is not possible for the situation before and after the Yeonpyeong Island provocation to be the same,” President Lee went on, “Facing up to the 9/11 terror, the U.S. established its security and national strategies. This was because people’s lives had been threatened. We have to be equipped with resolute deterrent power, so that North Korea cannot so much as think of further provocations. In order to do that, I will accelerate reform of our national defense systems.”
In addition, he added, “Starting now, peace and reunification policies must be established and implemented based on sound security. In addition, we must make an effort to get our North Korean brethren to take part in the journey for freedom and prosperity.”
Turning his words toward the North Korean regime, President Lee asserted, “There is nothing to be gained from military adventurism. You cannot talk about the nation and peace while shelling civilians and threatening the same nation with nuclear weapons.”
“North Korea has to take on board both the national longing for peace and prosperity and international demands. It must give up its nuclear programs and military adventurism.”
Despite the state of inter-Korean relations, however, President Lee again reiterated that there is still the possibility of a conversation with North Korea, saying that, “The door for dialogue has still not closed. Once North Korea shows its sincerity, we have a plan with the international community to develop economic cooperation dramatically.”