Park to deliver landmark speech on N. Korea

By 신용배
  • Published : Mar 28, 2014 - 10:21
  • Updated : Mar 28, 2014 - 10:21

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is set to deliver a speech on North Korea in the former East German city of Dresden on Friday amid expectations the address would crystallize her vision for unification with the communist nation.

Park was scheduled to make the speech at the Dresden University of Technology after receiving an honorary doctorate from the school. Speculation has been rife that Park could unveil a new vision for unification with North Korea that could be called either the "Dresden Declaration" or "Unification Doctrine."

Officials declined to discuss details of the planned address.

But it is expected to be largely a proposal that South Korea will provide the impoverished North with a comprehensive package of economic assistance if Pyongyang abandons its nuclear program.

Park has cited Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions as the biggest obstacle to unification.

She has made strong pitches for unification in recent months, saying it would be an economic "bonanza" for the two Koreas as well as a blessing for neighboring countries because it will touch off massive investments in North Korea, mainly infrastructure projects.

Friday's speech is expected to include the point that Korean unification will be good for all.

Park's trip to Dresden made her the first South Korean president to visit a former East German city. Dresden is also symbolic in German unification as it is where former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl made a landmark pro-unification speech in 1989.

South Korean leaders have sometimes used trips to Germany to announce new proposals or policies on North Korea. In 2000, former President Kim Dae-jung issued the "Berlin Declaration" calling for the end of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace between the two sides.

Three months after the declaration, Kim held the South's first-ever summit with North Korea.

Unification has been the main theme in Park's state visit to Germany that earlier took her to Berlin. On Wednesday, Park held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and agreed to work closely together to share the lessons of German unification to help South Korea chart a course for its own unification with the North.

Merkel said she believes it is Germany's obligation to help realize Korean unification.

Later Friday, Park is scheduled to make a brief stopover in Frankfurt to hold a meeting with South Korean residents, including former miners and nurses sent to Germany in the 1960s to earn foreign currency for South Korea's economic development when Park's father, former President Park Chung-hee, was in office.

In 1964, the elder Park delivered a tearful speech before hundreds of South Korean miners and nurses during a visit to a coal mine in Germany, pledging to develop South Korea's economy so that proceeding generations would not have to go through such hardships. (Yonhap)