The Korea Herald

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[Editorial] Liberation Day speech

Park should set vision for another seven decades

By KH디지털2

Published : Aug. 13, 2015 - 17:29

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Speechwriters for President Park Geun-hye are said to be preparing two versions of the address she will give Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule.

They are watching for how far Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go in acknowledging and apologizing for Japan’s past wrongdoings in his statement to be issued a day before Park delivers her speech. She expressed hope this week that the statement timed to commemorate the end of World War II would serve as a starting point for improving ties with neighboring countries by reaffirming the remorseful historical perceptions held by his predecessors.

It is undesirable for the South Korean leader and her aides to give the impression of being obsessed with what Abe will mention. Park should transcend Abe’s statement to focus on presenting her own vision for building a true partnership between South Korea and Japan and helping foster peace and coprosperity in Northeast Asia and beyond. The work to articulate this vision cannot and should not be allowed to be swayed by Abe’s misguided historical views, which are dismissed by a majority of Japanese citizens.

North Korea’s latest provocation in the Demilitarized Zone may also make it difficult to set the tone of her speech, which seemed originally intended to give a message of cooperation and reconciliation with the North. In her address, Park needs to envision farsighted strategies for securing peace on the peninsula and laying the groundwork for unification based on national consensus.

The Liberation Day speech will bestow on Park a historic opportunity to give an inspiring ode to the country’s accomplishment over the past seven decades and put forward a vision for it to pursue for another seven decades to come. It should also serve to get people around the world to sympathize with the pains Korea has gone through in the process of becoming what it is now and its will to contribute to making the world more secure and prosperous.

South Koreans deserve to see their president delivering such a touching and visionary address on the landmark anniversary.