06/04/09 - Korean President's Address to the Nation

Uploaded by PresidentMBLee on 05.04.2009

Radio-Internet Address to the Nation By President Lee Myung-Bak
Good morning, fellow Koreans
As you all know well, North Korea launched a rocket yesterday morning.
When all countries around the world are only intent on trying to surmount the economic crisis at this juncture,
North Koreans defied international efforts to persuade them and went ahead with the firing.
I attended the G-20 Financial Summit in London last week, but I had to wrap up my visit earlier than expected to return
because of the issue of the North Korea’s rocket launch.
Before I left for London to attend the G20 Meeting, I called for a meeting of the National Security Council
and, as soon as I got back, I presided over a series of security-related meetings to check on our situation.
US President Barack Obama remarked that though he is aware that
North Korea wants a direct bilateral channel with the United States,
North Korea will not be able to drive a wedge between the United States and the Republic of Korea.
He went on to unveil his firm resolve that he would work together with the United Nations
to deal with any rocket launches by the North,
which would be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution.
Both Japan and China said that they would continue to, until the last minute,
persuade North Korea to cancel the launch.
Even before I called on all of you to do so, the Korean people demonstrated great maturity.
I am deeply grateful to all of you for putting confidence in the Government and remaining composed
in responding to the situation.
Fellow Koreans,
The entire world had striven to dissuade the North from firing the rocket, but its authorities
eventually perpetrated the reckless act posing threats to regional and international security.
It can never be justified.
The Korean Government is committed to responding to any provocation
by the North in a stern and composed manner.
I hope the people will continue to trust the Government.
Meanwhile, I am happy to report that the G-20 Summit in London produced truly historic achievements.
Developed and emerging economies sat together to reach an agreement to deal with the current crisis.
I have subsequently become convinced that the global economy will make a turnaround
earlier than projected
as long as the leaders of G-20 nations keep their promises and live up to their agreements.
As a matter of fact, the gathering this time was faced with some critical moments in reaching an agreement
since opinions of the participants were sharply divided.
This difficult situation notwithstanding, I asserted that as the leaders of the world,
we had to help all peoples across the globe find a ray of hope by speaking with one voice.
Still, the discrepancy of opinions was not narrowed down, thus making it difficult to come to an agreement.
Then, I underscored once again it was the responsibility of participating leaders
to give hope to those who are working very hard even in the face of poverty
and to those who are suffering from unemployment.
I stressed that a failure to reach an agreement because we were arguing
over details of the provisions of the statement rather than providing hope would only add
to the suffering around the world.
After heated discussions on every word and provision of the joint communique,
we finally came to an agreement on historic action plans for the whole world and the future of humankind.
In the process of collecting opposing opinions, the faces of the participating leaders were not that bright.
However, we arrived at a more concrete, substantive agreement than that of the first meeting last year.
When the agreement was finally reached, the leaders broke out in a spontaneous applause.
My fellow citizens,
As you are well aware, Korea played a significant role as a member of G-20 Troika that chairs the G-20
over a three-year period together with Brazil and the United Kingdom.
We dispatched special envoys to other countries to determine topics for the upcoming discussions in advance.
At the First G-20 Summit, Korea proposed a set of measures aimed at holding back protectionist moves,
and they were reflected in the statement.
At the second summit, our delegation argued that all protectionist measures that had been taken
since the Washington financial summit had to be rolled back.
This proposal has also been reflected in the joint communique,
and it was touted as one of the exemplary achievements of this summit.
At the same time, I tried my best in speaking on behalf of the nations that are undergoing
relatively more difficulties than others.
I was happy to see the G-20 authorize the IMF and World Bank to secure US$1.1 trillion
for the purpose of shoring up the economy of emerging and developing countries
as well as supporting their trade financing and infrastructure construction.
This is an agreement that exceeded everyone's expectation.
I also had bilateral summits with the leaders of the United States, China, Japan,
the United Kingdom and Australia.
Particularly, at the Korea-U.S. summit,
the two Governments gave a high evaluation to the accomplishments of the long-enduring bilateral alliance
and decided to further strengthen and develop it into a future-oriented institution.
I had had telephone conversations with President Barack Obama on two occasions
before I met him in person for the first time in London.
I felt comfortable talking with him, as if I were talking to an old friend of mine.
The two of us reaffirmed our common belief that the sometimes-controversial Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
would benefit both countries and enhance the ROK-U.S. alliance in particular.
President Obama expressed a strong determination to advance the FTA toward ratification.
Fellow Koreans,
Through the G-20 meeting,
I was able to confirm that the status of Korea is rising in the international community.
Those countries that did not care about Korea up until several years ago
have begun to notice our experience and achievements.
Now, they seriously want to listen to what we have to say.
The international community is paying keen attention to Korea’s economic crisis response measures
like job sharing.
Currently, the expression“job sharing" is an important catchphrase worldwide.
Depending on what and how we do it, we can play a crucial role in the international arena.
In fact, the Republic is already being hailed as an important player.
Returning from the G-20 meeting,
I heard a familiar refrain running through my mind.
That is that
“We can do it. The Republic of Korea can do it.”
That is right, fellow citizens.
Even as we face challenging times both on a national security level and on an economic level,
I believe there is no order too tall for us Koreans to overcome.
We must keep our hopes alive.
Thank you very much.