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President Moon vows to build strong, self-reliant defense to ensure peace

President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his commitment to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula on Friday during a speech to a memorial for the late leader Kim Dae-jung who held the first inter-Korean summit in 2000.

"I will work to ensure peace and economic prosperity on the Korean Peninsula with the type of security that will make peace rather than just preserving peace," the president said at a ceremony marking the 8th anniversary of his death.

"I will also do my utmost to realize many other tasks, such as national unity, getting rid of social evils and removing injustice and disparity, with the sense of pride and responsibility of a democratic government," he added, calling his administration the legitimate and direct descent of the late president.

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Kim (1926-2009) is the architect of the Sunshine Policy, which laid the foundation for a flurry of reconciliatory projects between the two Koreas in the 2000s.

President Moon said his government will succeed the late former leader's vision for reunification with North Korea based on peace and security.

"We will, without fail, continue to abide by the principle that we ourselves are the key players in dealing with problems on the Korean Peninsula," he said.

Moon's remarks come amid signs of de-escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States after Pyongyang recently retreated from its threat to launch missiles toward the US-controlled island of Guam.

US President Donald Trump had warned the communist state would be met by "fire and fury" and that US military measures were "locked and loaded."

The South Korean president has repeatedly expressed his strong opposition to any military action on the Korean Peninsula, saying there can never be another war.

On Thursday, marking his first 100 days in office, Moon said the US, Seoul's ally, has agreed not to take any military actions against the North without prior consultation with Seoul. (Yonhap)
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