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Home 김대중 대통령 주요저작(퇴임 후 활동)
 
2009년 5월 21일 외국어대연설문(영문)
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Willy Brandt and I, the Ostpolitik and the Sunshine Policy

 

Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

Thursday, May 21, 2009

 

Respected President Park Chul, professor Jung Hyun-baek, German Ambassador to Korea Norbert Baas, EU Ambassador to Korea Brian Mcdonald, Secretary General of the Willy Brandt Foundation Hoppenstedt, professor Noh Myung-hoan, faculties, students, and distinguished guests!

 

It is truly an honor to stand here, and deliver a speech on the topic of “Willy Brandt and I, the Ostpolitik and the Sunshine Policy.

 

Chancellor Willy Brandt was one of the greatest figures of the 20th century. He had profound understanding of the human history and tremendous courage to fight for freedom. He was a man of a golden heart and action power leading reconciliation with the brethrens at odds. He also had political decisiveness and boldness as well as deep love for humanity and a strong sense of justice. Not only Germany, but the whole world is lucky and proud of having such a great person in our times.

 

Distinguished guests!

 

Chancellor Brandt and I were good friends who understood and respected each other wholeheartedly. Both of us fought against dictatorship, communism, and division of home countries. And we shared unshakeable faith in democracy and justice. Most of all, our trust and friendship grew tightly while we took the road toward reunification of divided countries with unfailing faith and innocent enthusiasm.    

 

Ladies and gentlemen!

 

When I ran for Presidency in 1971, I visited Americaand had a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC. At that time, I said to journalists, “I consent and support the Ostpolitik of Chancellor Brandt.” During the presidential campaign, I advocated the Sunshine Policy for inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation. Because it was at the height of the Cold War, I was denounced as a communist sympathizer by the military government and had to go through a lot of hardships.

 

In 1980 when I received the death sentence under the military government, Chancellor Brandt wrote a letter in protest to General Chun Doo-hwan, the head of the military government, and asked him to drop the death sentence.

 

In 1983 when I was in exile in America, Chancellor Brandt invited me to Germany. But I couldn’t go because the military government did not issue a passport for me.

 

In 1987, Chancellor Brandt and the rest of congressmen belonging to the Social Democratic Party nominated me as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

On October 26, 1989, I invited him to Korea and we had dinner together. Coincidently, we got the news that the Berlin Wall collapsed. Embarrassed by the unexpected situation, Chancellor Brandt quickly had to fly back to his country.

 

In October 1991, I visited Germanyand met him in his office. We exchanged opinions on current international affairs and future prospect. Most of all, we concentrated on discussing what lessons Koreashould learn from German unification. Chancellor Brandt advised me, “We achieved unification by absorption due to unexpected situation in East Germany. I hope that Koreacan take a peaceful and gradual approach to unification.” He also talked about serious side effect after the sudden unification by saying, “Even though the Berlin Wall is brought down, the wall in our mind remains strong yet.”

 

When Chancellor Brandt passed away in October 1992, my wife and sons attended the funeral for me. I wished I could go, but couldn’t take time due to the election campaign for 14th Korean presidency. Later in February 1993, I visited Berlinand paid a tribute at his resting place. Standing before his grave, I recollected a great friend whom I shared deep friendship throughout lifetime and prayed for the repose of the soul of Chancellor Brandt. I still think of him these days, and feel an irresistible yearning for my great friend. 

Respected guests!

 

The Ostpolitik and the Sunshine Policy have many things in common in terms of philosophy, policies, and implementation.

 

First, both ideas preach unification, never endorsing permanent division of respective peoples. Unification should come only in a peaceful and phased manner, not through armed or violent force.

 

Second, Chancellor Brandt scrapped the long-standing “Hallstein doctrine” and implemented a practical policy with focus on exchanges and cooperation with East Germany. Over two decades, the West supported the East with 16 billion dollars in total, which is annualized at 3.2 billion dollars on average, and boosted the inter-German exchanges. As a result, the sentiment of the East Germans began to change. Thus far, they had been brainwashed to believe that East Germany was paradise, while West Germanywas hell. Thanks to the Western support and activated inter-German exchanges, they came to dawn on the very reality as opposed to what they had been told. This change in thinking and enlightenment ignited restlessness among people and implosion from within. Eventually East Germans rose to voluntarily call for unification even through absorption by the West.

 

Third, Koreaalso had an experience of implementing the Ostpolitik in a Korean style, which is the Sunshine Policy, for a short period of time and in a rather small scale. But it did prove significant impact on North Koreans’ sentiment and the society. Just like the Sun generously gives out warmth to every direction, the Sunshine Policy intended to let the strong wind of the Cold war die down, and pave the way for shared victory and development based on peaceful coexistence, peaceful exchanges, and peaceful unification.

 

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed at the June 15 inter-Korean summit in 2000 to fashion our own destiny and work for unification in a gradual basis. With that principle, both parties decided to actively and dynamically exchange and cooperate in all areas. Since the 2000 inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, South Korea had provided food, fertilizers, and medical supplies worth 150 million dollars annually. This support significantly affected minds of North Koreans who had been held by malicious propaganda against South Korea. They came to think, ‘South Koreans are rich,’ ‘They have brotherly affection for us,’ ‘We want to live like them in affluence,’ and ‘Unification should come sooner.’

 

This psychological change brought cultural change. North Koreans enjoyed South Korean popular songs, TV dramas, and films in unofficial channels. As we witnessed in West Germany that brought changes to the minds of East Germans, we also won changes in the minds of North Koreans and brotherly friendship with them. Economic cooperation and cultural and sports exchanges took place in a considerable scale. In this renewed state of stability, the end looked near for the era of the Cold war in the Korean peninsula for good.

 

But with the launch of the new government, the inter-Korean relations went sour very quickly and is going from bad to worse. Many people watching this reality express grave concerns. But I believe that the situation will not last long as it is. When the South and the North are dragged into confrontation and fighting, they will stand to incur a loss. When they reconcile and cooperate, all will enjoy stability and prosperity. Moreover all Koreans strongly aspire to recover inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation that they experienced in the wake of the historic 2000 inter-Korean summit.

 

Just like the Ostpolitik enhanced inter-German peace and cooperation eventually resulting in peaceful unification, the Korean Sunshine Policy will regain its strength and contribute to peace-building in the Korean peninsula and laying foundation for co-prosperity of both Koreasvery soon. That is because it is the way the whole 70 million Koreans want to take.

 

Ladies and gentlemen!

 

So far, I have talked about how similar paths and destiny Germanyand Koreahave shared and what commonalities the Ostpolitik and the Sunshine Policy have. The Ostpolitik succeeded in history earlier. Now it is time for the Sunshine Policy. I wish that Germanywhich has already succeeded in achieving its intended purpose do not spare any support for Koreato be successful with the Sunshine Policy. I believe that Korean people should hold us firmly with thinking that we should never allow bloody confrontation and hatred to set in within ourselves. And I would like to ask all Koreans to give their full support to the Sunshine Policy, which is the only option available and aligned with the proven Ostpolitik.

 

Last but not least, let us pay a tribute to Chancellor Brandt once again, and wish that Germany and Korea can further enhance our friendly and cooperative relationship.

 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

Kim Dae-jung