Second June 15 Reunification Era Should Be Opened
In February last a meeting of the north, south and overseas chairmen of the Joint National Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration was held in Shenyang, China. In the meeting they discussed practical matters to improve north-south relations and open a new phase of the struggle for independent reunification by pooling efforts of the whole nation this year 2017 that marks the 45th anniversary of the historic July 4 North-South Joint Statement and the 10th anniversary of the October 4 Declaration, and agreed on a number of matters. The Joint National Committee decided to play an active and vanguard role in opening a second June 15 reunification era by holding without fail this year a pan-national assembly for reunification involving all political parties and organizations including the authorities in the north and the south, as well as people from all walks of life at home and abroad.
Seventeen years ago, in June 2000, a north-south summit meeting was held in Pyongyang for the first time in 55 years since the separation of the nation, and the historic June 15 Joint Declaration was made public. The declaration swiftly turned the north-south relations of confrontation, which had lasted for over half a century, into the one of reconciliation and cooperation. North-south minister-level talks took place in which joint agreements were made from the standpoint of prioritizing the desire and interest of the nation. As a result over 60 former unconverted long-term prisoners in south Korea returned to the north across the Panmunjom demarcation line—it was a historic event. Significant things ensued: Joint national functions were held on a large scale including seminars, festivals and meetings for national reunification with the participants from the north, the south and abroad. Contacts and travels of people of all strata took place including a grand forum of north and south workers for reunification, a seminar of north and south scholars, a north-south joint exhibition of historical materials and a national costume exhibition. It is the Korean nation’s unanimous desire to open another June 15 era by giving rise to the enthusiasm and jubilation of the era that swept the whole Korean peninsula from Paektu to Halla.
The Korean people want not confrontation but dialogue, not war but peace. They are conducting a vigorous struggle to open a new phase of independent reunification this year by all means. They set the period from June 15 to October 4 as the one of commemoration of the publication of the north-south declarations, and are making vigorous efforts to hold joint national functions in the north and the south including Pyongyang and Seoul on occasions of joint national anniversaries like June 15, July 4, August 15 and October 4. They are working hard to hold successful meetings, sports and cultural functions and seminars for reunification by strata, sectors and organizations, including a north-south workers’ football match for reunification, a folk culture function of north and south farmers for reunification, a meeting of youth and students from the north, the south and overseas, a meeting of representatives from women’s organizations, a meeting of north and south religious believers and a tour to sites related to the anti-Japanese movement for independence.
They have all turned out in unison in the work to bring into reality the agreement adopted at the meeting of the north, south and overseas chairmen of the Joint National Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration to work hard to realize various sports and cultural exchanges on the occasions of the Asian Cup Women’s Football Tournament 2018 and the 23rd Winter Olympic Games.
As it is impossible to check the natural progress in which dawn comes after a dark night, the national struggle will surely emerge victorious to hasten the day of bright future when national reconciliation and unity will come removing the curtain of confrontation and mistrust.