June 26, 2020 11:59
President Moon Jae-in on Thursday marked the 70th anniversary of the Korean War with a call for reconciliation between the two Koreas.
"The ideological race between South and North Korea ended long ago," Moon said during a ceremony at a military air base in Seognam, Gyeonggi Province. "Our GDP is more than 50 times larger than North Korea's, while our trade amount is more than 400 times bigger."
But he stressed that his government "has no intention to force its system on North Korea" and urged Pyongyang to become a good neighbor before any discussion of reunification begins.
Despite a recent series of hysterical threats from North Korea, Moon vowed to "ceaselessly seek out a path of coexistence between the South and North through peace" and urged the North to "embark on a bold endeavor to end the saddest war in the world's history."
The last president to attend a ceremony commemorating the Korean War was Lee Myung-bak 10 years ago. The government said it decided to hold the ceremony after sunset, which is unprecedented, due to this month's record heat in consideration of the health of aging war veterans.
Moon also paid his respects to 147 caskets of remains of South Korean soldiers who died during the war, which had been returned to South Korea a day earlier after being excavated by the U.S. in North Korea.
The leaders of 22 countries around the world, including U.S. President Donald Trump, sent video messages to honor the soldiers. Trump expressed respect and gratitude for "all of those brave men and women that fought to keep communism out." Britain's Queen Elizabeth II also sent a message of remembrance for those who sacrificed their lives.
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