Ten years have passed since the publication of the historic October 4 Declaration between north and south Korea.
In the declaration, titled, Declaration for the Improvement of North-South Relations, and Peace and Prosperity, the north and south reaffirmed that they would uphold and positively implement the June 15 Joint Declaration in which the spirit of By Our Nation Itself runs through.
They also had a common recognition of such matters as putting an end to relations of military hostility with mutual respect and confidence as the basis and ensuring peace, economic cooperation, exchange in social and cultural fields, humanitarian cooperation, cooperation in the efforts to protect the interests of the nation and the rights and interests of overseas Koreans on the international arena, and put forward the methods for implementing them.
Thanks to the efforts made by Kim Jong Il, chairman of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Korean people aspiring to their country’s reunification could have the June 15 Joint Declaration, a milestone in achieving independent reunification, and the October 4 Declaration, the former’s action programme. The decisive factor of the successful summit between north and south Korea was his Songun politics which frustrated the US moves hostile towards the DPRK, safeguarding peace and enlivening the atmosphere of reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.
In those days the US persistently resorted to pressure and military threat against the DPRK in pursuance of its aim of stifling the country by “force.”
But these despicable moves were shattered to pieces by Songun politics, and February 13 Agreement was published according to the principle of “action for action.” With the six-party talks progressing and the issue of guaranteeing peace on the Korean peninsula becoming the order of the day, another north-south summit meeting took place in Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK, in October 2007.
Chairman Kim Jong Il warmly welcomed President Roh Moo Hyun of south Korea; he personally visited the guest’s lodgings and had talks with him.
He said that the upcoming summit meeting should demonstrate to the world that inter-Korean relations could be solved independently by the Korean nation itself, and serve as a good opportunity for confirming national sovereignty and achieving prosperity common to the nation. His words are etched in the annals of the movement for the reunification of Korea.
The international community stressed that the successful holding of the summit meeting and its brilliant fruition were ascribable to the efforts made by Chairman Kim Jong Il, possessed of ardent love for the nation, reunification will, magnanimity and outstanding leadership.
With the adoption of the October 4 Declaration, the Korean people demonstrated their unshakeable reunification will and began to wage their struggle for national reunification with the action programme which specifies in detail the goals and tasks for expanding and developing inter-Korean relations onto a new high and ushering in a new era of peace on the Korean peninsula, prosperity common to the nation and reunification through the concerted efforts of the Korean nation.
The subsequent first round of inter-Korean premier-level talks adopted an agreement on reconciliation and cooperation in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. It was followed by the second round of inter-Korean defence minister-level talks, first vice-premier-level session of the North-South Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation and 9th round of north-south Red Cross talks, all aimed at implementing the October 4 Declaration. And an agreement on tourism between the north and south was adopted.
This atmosphere gave fresh confidence and courage to the Korean people in their struggle for national reunification.
But the October 4 Declaration and other inter-Korean agreements have not been implemented owing to change of government in south Korea and moves by the forces there unhappy with the agreements. If the inter-Korean agreements had been implemented faithfully in disregard of the change of government in south Korea, the north-south relations would not have undergone twists and turns, and a great advance achieved in accomplishing the cause of national reunification.
When the north and south respect each other and, as partners in national reunification, work together, a new phase will be opened in improving inter-Korean relations and reunifying the country.