A ceremony was held this morning for National Liberation Day known in Korean as ‘Gwangbokjeol’.
In an address, President Moon Jae-in said that South Korea is always ready to talk with Japan, and he said the establishment of peace on the Peninsula will benefit the two Koreas.
We have our senior Blue House correspondent Kim Min-ji on the line.
Min-ji, run us through some key points of President Moon’s message.
President Moon Jae-in said that the door to dialogue with Japan is always open to deal with outstanding bilateral issues.
Moon said South Korea and Japan have been able to achieve economic growth through cooperation based on the common values of democracy and the free market since the normalization of diplomatic ties and that they must continue down that path.
Ties between the two countries have been strained over issues such as Tokyo’s wartime use of forced labor and sexual slavery as well as its export curbs on Seoul.
Moon said that historical issues need to be settled in accordance with international standards.
On North Korea, Moon said that the two Koreas can make a model for unification although it may take some time stressing that the division of the Korean Peninsula is the biggest obstacle to growth, prosperity and peace.
He said we can remove this wall and that institutionalizing peace will benefit both Koreas and contribute to the prosperity of the whole of Northeast Asia.
As for COVID-19, Moon announced a new inoculation target saying that 70 percent of the South Korean population will be fully vaccinated by October.
Currently, around 11 percent of the population has received both doses while 36 percent have received their first shot.
Moon said that South Korea will overcome the fourth wave of the virus vowing to spare no effort to bring the first domestically developed vaccine to market in the first half of next year and to become a global vaccine production hub.
Also notable today President Moon has arranged for the remains of a Korean independence fighter, General Hong Beom-do, to be returned to his homeland from Kazakhstan.
I understand his remains will arrive in South Korea tonight. Tell us more.
South Korea will be repatriating from Kazakhstan the remains of Hong Beom-do a well known independence fighter who led major battles against Imperial Japan.
President Moon sent a special delegation to Kazakhstan yesterday to bring his remains back home.
Hong’s body will arrive tonight and there will be an official mourning period for two days before he is buried at the Daejeon National Cemetery on the 18th.
Hong is famous for leading his freedom fighters to victory against Japanese troops at the Battle of Bongodong in Manchuria in 1920.
The following year, Hong and his forces relocated to the Soviet Union to seek refuge from Japanese forces.
On Stalin’s orders in 1937, he was deported with other Koreans to Kazakhstan, where he died in 1943.
The repatriation of Hong’s body comes in connection with a two-day state visit to South Korea by the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
It’s a reciprocal trip as Moon made a state visit to Kazakhstan in 2019. and that’s when he made the formal request for the return Hong’s remains.
Back to you, Devin.