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-Final-
[Keynote Speech to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Summit]
 
 
 
 
Power of Dialogue
- Dialogue for Reciprocal Benefit and a Win-Win Outcome -
 
 
Stavanger, Norway
Sept. 11, 2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kim Dae-jung
Former President of Republic of Korea
2000 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
 
 
 
 
 
Respected Chair of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Follow-up Committee Gunnar Berge, Former Prime Minister of Norway Magne Bondevik, Representative Mary McNish of the American Friends Service Committee, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Ole Mjos, Professor Johan Galtung, Distinguished Guests!
 
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you for giving me the opportunity to speak on this honorable occasion. 
Today I would like to offer some reflections on politics based on “The Power of Dialogue - Reciprocal Dialogue with the Objective of a Win-Win Outcome.”
 
I have been consistent in calling for dialogue, with this determination stretching back 37 years to 1971, to the time when I ran for the Korean Presidency. I have consistently claimed that Korea should engage in dialogue and cooperation with North Korea, adhering to my position of being opposed to communism but for peace and unification.
At that time, the world was swept up in the Cold War. The voices of hatred and calls for the destruction of North Korea dominated in South Korea. 
 
Accordingly my assertion prompted criticism from the military regime and its followers of the Cold War, and I was branded as a communist sympathizer.
As a result, I endured more than 20 years of persecution, including imprisonment, exile, kidnapping, and even a death sentence. Not daunted, however, I have advocated the “Sunshine Policy” based on the three principles of peaceful coexistence, peaceful exchanges, and peaceful unification, which should be pursued consecutively in three stages of a confederation, federation, and complete unification. When I came into office as President in 1998, right from the start, even in my Inauguration Speech I set out this policy and proposed to Chairman Kim Jong-il of North Korea the holding of a South-North Summit Meeting to discuss peace on the Korean Peninsula and our own people's issues. 
 
North Korea at first resisted my proposal as they thought I was trying to bring down the regime, in the same way as the sunlight in the Aesop fable succeeds in taking off the cloak of a passerby. But I persisted in my efforts to persuade the regime, saying that “the ‘Sunshine Policy’ aims at realizing peace and cooperation based on exchanges as well as bringing about a win-win outcome by means of dialogue between the South and the North.” Finally Pyongyang came to understand my intention and Chairman Kim Jong-il invited me to North Korea, where I had the historic summit with Chairman Kim over three days from June 13th to 15th 2000. First of all, I told Chairman Kim, “People don’t live forever. Even though they are in high positions, they cannot remain in such positions forever either. Now as we are in life and hold highly responsible positions, we are obliged to open the path to peace, cooperation, and unification for all Korean people. That is how you and I can live forever in history. That is the duty you and I have to share. But we have to move beyond simply talking about this in principle. We have to actually engage in concrete discussions on this. North Korea should completely abandon any idea of communizing the South. Otherwise we cannot reach any agreement and may draw the Korean people into another war. For its part, South Korea would never consider the idea of unification through absorption of North Korea. Unlike West Germany, South Korea is not economically able to absorb North Korea. Even if it were, unification by absorption is not an option considering the lessons from the German experience that the country has suffered many negative effects following the overnight unification of two totally different societies. Indeed, when I met with former German President Richard von Weizsacker in 1993, he lamented that even though the Berlin Wall had collapsed, the walls in people’s minds had not come down. Therefore, neither unification by communization nor unification by absorption can be an option for us. We have to achieve win-win peaceful unification in a phased manner only through dialogue.”
 
My words did seem to move Chairman Kim to an extent. Chairman Kim Jong-il was assured that the South did not intend to absorb the North, and rather than pursuing hasty unification, it would take a phased approach towards unification. And finally he had a change of heart, opening his mind to sincere dialogue with me.
In the summit, Chairman Kim and I agreed on the principle that the Korean people would themselves resolve the issues facing them and also agreed on: phased unification, and exchanges and cooperation in all areas including the economic, social, cultural, and sports fields. And Chairman Kim also agreed to pay a visit to Seoul. These agreements served as the starting point, a first step in turning the 50-year-old Cold War structure into a system of reconciliation and cooperation. Not only the people of the two Koreas, but indeed people all around the world were surprised and moved. Many international organizations devoted to the pursuit of peace, including the United Nations, and all countries around the world joined in welcoming and supporting this historic development.
 
Inter-Korean relations following the June 15th Summit, despite many difficulties resulting from the strained relationship between Pyongyang and Washington, were developed even further. To give one clear example to illustrate this, prior to the Inter-Korean Summit, of those people separated from their families for over five decades, not even knowing if their loved ones were alive, only 200 people were united. But 18,000 people have so far met with their separated families. 1.8 million South Koreans have traveled to Geumgang Mountain, the famous tourist attraction in the North. 33,000 North Koreans are working hard in the Gaesung Industrial Complex which South Korea has established in the North.
 
In June 2002 when North Korean soldiers carried out a preemptive strike in the West Sea against the South Korean marine corps, inflicting damage on Korean soldiers, and the battle was about to reach critical point, the North immediately acknowledged through the hotline installed after the June 15th summit that the strike was their fault, and expressed their regret over the situation. This communication prevented the battle from spreading. The hotline remained in operation until the end of my term.
 
More than 100,000 South Korean civilians visit North Korea every year. They are engaged in educational projects, healthcare projects, humanitarian aid, cultural and sports projects, and economic activities, for example, in car manufacturing plants. While in office, I actively supported such activities at the private level. Furthermore, at the government level, over 400,000 tons of food and 300,000 tons of fertilizers were shipped to the North every year, which were of great value in helping the North out of the food crisis. 300,000 tons of fertilizers increase food production by over 300,000 tons. Not only that, medical supplies as well from the South greatly benefited North Koreans.
 
In the midst of this, great changes were evident in the minds of North Koreans. Having thought that South Korea was a puppet of American imperialists and an enemy trying to overthrow the North, North Koreans were moved at the news that a South Korean President came to them, extending a hand asking for reconciliation, and brought them a series of supplies of food and fertilizer. Reading the signs printed on the packages of food and fertilizer, North Koreans knew that the aid was from South Korea. They began to think, “South Korea seems to be rich. I heard that they hated us, but it can’t be true, or why would they give these to us? I wish that we could live well like them. I hope that unification will come quickly.” This shift in thinking has led to a change in the culture in the North. And people in the North do now unofficially sing Korean pop songs and enjoy Korean TV dramas and films.
 
Distinguished Guests!
While I was in office for five years from 1998 to 2003, I worked with President Clinton for the first half, and with President Bush for the latter half. President Clinton openly supported my Sunshine Policy. And on my request, he sat at the table for direct dialogue with North Korea, reached an agreement to resolve the missile and nuclear problems and to normalize diplomatic ties with Pyongyang.
Unfortunately his term came to an end before he was able to fully conclude these matters.
 
Following the inauguration of President Bush, North Korea was designated as part of an axis of evil. He announced in his policy that the U.S could not engage in dialogue with one doing evil, and no rewards would be given to such forces. As a result there was a serious souring in the DPRK-US relations, which led to a great deal of difficulties in inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation. Nevertheless I met with President Bush and strongly argued that the U.S should rule out the possibility of embarking on a Cold War or igniting armed confrontations and come out on the path of dialogue. I also told Bush, “Dialogue is not meant to take place only between friends. President Reagan had dialogue with the Soviet Union, a country he called an “evil empire.” President Eisenhower had reciprocal negotiations with North Korea during the Korean War to reach an armistice in 1953.” After that, President Bush agreed to hold the North-U.S dialogue temporarily, but with the suspicion of uranium enrichment in North Korea raised by the U.S in October 2002, North-U.S negotiations were no longer a possibility. However, I believe that my endeavors for sincere and persistent persuasion for Pyongyang and Washington played a part in preventing the situation from being drawn to a miserable end.
For six out of eight years of his presidency, Bush played with hard-line policies in dealing with Pyongyang but to no avail. Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, expelled IAEA inspectors, fired long-range missiles while it was under a moratorium, and finally tested nuclear weapons on October 9th, 2006.  
Fortunately President Bush has awakened to his policy mistakes and is sitting at dialogue table with Pyongyang to engage in reciprocal negotiations. He finally came to accept the policy of reconciliation and cooperation for a win-win outcome, which is the sunshine policy that Clinton and I had pursued.
 
If the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is resolved through the Six-Party Talks, and a Northeast Asian security structure takes shape as agreed in the Six-Party Talks, this is expected to contribute to peace in Northeast Asia, and by extension, to world peace. Although the Six-Party Talks are in deadlock again now, the North Korean nuclear issue will be resolved within the framework of the Six-Party talks, direct dialogue and reciprocal negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. I firmly believe so: indeed, there is no other option than dialogue to resolve the nuclear issue.
 
Currently, the new Lee Myung-bak government is at odds with Pyongyang. Inter-Korean dialogue is on hold. But the situation will not last long, because the two most decisive elements of the Six-Party Talks and North-U.S relations will make progress. Neither Seoul nor Pyongyang wants to stop dialogue and return to a Cold War era. They are still pursuing the path of dialogue. I believe that if President Lee Myung-bak acknowledges the June 15th South-North Joint Declaration and October 4th Declaration issued respectively by the Kim Dae-jung government and the succeeding Roh Moo-hyun government, the two Koreas can resume dialogue. It is only through dialogue that security and a win-win outcome for the parties concerned can be achieved.
 
North Korea has abundant underground resources and tourism resources. If Korea is to open an inland road through Eurasia to reach Paris and London, it has to pass through North Korean railroads. We all know that if this so-called “Iron Silk Road” is realized, it will bring enormous benefits for both Koreas as well as countries in Eurasia. During the Korean War, which broke out in 1950, the two Koreas suffered enormous losses and gained nothing.
During the five decades of the Cold War, an exhausting history was repeated, characterized by hatred and animosity, and the expansion of armaments.
Now is the time to transform the inter-Korean relationship into a structure for permanent peace and cooperation through dialogue. Improvements in North-U.S relations and the success of the Six-Party Talks will be the key in this. In light of this, I believe that another South and North Summit has to be held soon.
I think that, despite the current deadlock, the prospect of the situation on the Korean peninsular is not pessimistic if it goes through dialogue.  Because it is the shared aspiration of the 70 million South and North Koreans and indeed there is no other option. 
 
Distinguished Guests!
Following the end of World War II, the U.S and the West spent five decades of the Cold War in confrontation with the Soviet Union. But the Cold War did not bring peace nor positive changes in the field of human rights and democracy. Ultimately, they took these matters to forums for dialogue. Detente between the U.S and the Soviet Union marked the beginning of the politics of dialogue. Detente led to the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, known as the Helsinki Accords. The Helsinki Accords facilitated mutual security assurances between the East and the West and economic, cultural, and human exchanges.
As a result, the peoples of the Soviet Union and East Europe visited the West and met peoples from the West who were visiting the Soviet Union.
They came to the realization that communism failed to build a paradise, and the Western world was not a land of evil, but a land of envy.
Following that, the Soviet Union and East Europe witnessed great changes in public sentiment and criticism emerged from within.
These changes led to Gorbachev’s perestroika and glasnost, resulting in the democratization of the Soviet Union and East Europe. German unification was said to be made possible through the cooperation of neighboring countries and the Soviet Union is said to have been a major element in German unification. And there were other elements of importance, which were dialogue, exchanges and cooperation enabled by the decades-long Ostpolitik that actually transformed East Germany and pulled it into the fold of West Germany. The power of dialogue was great indeed. The same logic applies in the cases of China and Vietnam. Neither the Cold War nor the Hot War could resolve conflicts in these two respective countries.
It was dialogue and reciprocal cooperation that brought changes to these two and shaped China and Vietnam of today. 
 
Distinguished Guests!
We have learned from history that all conflicts should be resolved by means of peaceful dialogue and for mutual benefit. Mutual benefit is a precondition for the success of dialogue. This is the pressing task that we have to achieve given by history. In the world today we see armed conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, but it is not by force that these can be resolved. It is only through peaceful dialogue aiming at a win-win outcome that we can find solutions to such situations. The people of the 21st century, living in the age of globalization, find that they are called upon to engage in more dialogue and at a level unprecedented in history. Dialogue for a shared victory! This is the very essence of the sunshine policy!
 
In closing, I would like to ask for your great interest in and support for peaceful dialogue so that we can, through dialogue, succeed in finding our way out of the stalemated Six-Party Talks and the troubled South and North relationship.
Thank you.