South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed his willingness to take a leading role in international cooperation to protect the international order based on freedom, human rights and the rule of law in a speech the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
He vowed to actively participate in the international community's efforts to promote peace and prosperity for future generations. He made no mention of North Korea in his speech.
Yoon stood on the stage on Tuesday afternoon -- around 2 a.m. on Wednesday in Korean time -- and delivered the message in Korean.
Yoon said the global community was yet again witnessing the freedom and peace of its citizens put in jeopardy due to attempts to alter the status quo by force, and that nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction posed increasing threats to humanity.
“Such threats to freedom and peace must be overcome through solidarity and fearless commitment to the framework of universal global norms consolidated over the years within the UN system,” Yoon said.
As humanity strives to defend freedom and build lasting peace, the UN’s role is indispensable, he said.
“Genuine freedom is not just being free from shackles but having opportunities to live life to the fullest with dignity,” he said. “Genuine peace is not an absence of war but removing conflict and enmity that hold back shared progress of humanity and building the foundation for greater prosperity.”
President Yoon said Korea was committed to fulfilling its responsibility and role in protecting the freedom of global citizens and prosperity of the global community.
He laid out plans for Korea's health and security, climate change response and how to narrow the digital divide to contribute to social progress and improvement of living standards in the international community.
Pointing out that Korea would host a ministerial meeting of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) in Seoul this November, he added that Korea would increase its contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
To help bridge the digital divide, he announced the international transfer and sharing of e-government digital technology in Korea, and the international sharing of education and investment infrastructure in the digital technology sector.
“As we seek answers to the global crisis we are faced with, the viability of the UN system and the universal global norms architecture is being tested,” Yoon said. “The crisis confronting us will only be resolved when we stand firmly in solidarity to share the universal value of freedom and work together to uphold and spread our freedom.”