Good Evening, I am the Vice Minister of the Ministry of National Defense Park Jae-Min.
Firstly, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to President Hwang Jin Ha, the members of the Korea-America Friendship Society and distinguished guests for participating in this event with their deep interest in the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
The ROK-U.S. Alliance made great contributions to not only the defense of the ROK but also to its development of free democracy and economic prosperity. In particular, the dynamic changes to the security environment around the Korean Peninsula that we had witnessed over the past year was possible only because the robust ROK-U.S. alliance have been supporting the diplomatic efforts to achieve complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean peninsula in the military domain.
As it stands, the two Koreas are faithfully implementing the Agreement on the Implementation of the Historic Panmunjom Declaration in the Military Domain also known as the CMA. The CMA strives to lay the groundwork upon which denuclearization and peace may be established on the Korean Peninsula by embodying the Armistice Agreement of 1953 through inter-Korean confidence building measures and prevention of accidental conflicts. As per the CMA, the two Koreas ceased all hostile acts in land, sea, and air as of November 1st, 2018.
The two Koreas executed the pilot withdrawals of 11 GPs each in the DMZ and completed mutual verifications. Furthermore, the demilitarization of the Panmunjom Joint Security Area was completed with the removal of firearms and installations of joint patrol posts. Furthermore, mines were removed and an inter-Korean road was laid last year for the Joint Remains Recovery in the Demilitarized Zone. As of now, pilot remains recovery operations are taking place on the southern side of the Arrowhead heights as preparatory measures for the Joint Remains Recovery that will follow.
I have conviction that the aforementioned measures will substantively contribute to the alleviation of military tension and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Admittedly, North Korea did fire short range missiles in two separate occasions of late.
However, the North Korean position of staying faithful to the CMA and maintaining the denuclearization conversation momentum remains changed.
Of course, achieving denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula will be by no means an easy task. To say that progress and success will depend on an unwavering and steadfast ROK-U.S. Alliance is an understatement.The ROK-U.S. Alliance will continue in the future, as it has done so devoutly until now, to serve as a linchpin in preserving and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula through its complete denuclearization.
The coordination between the ROK-U.S. authorities is more robust now than ever. Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeongdoo and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan repeatedly reaffirmed the common goal of supporting the diplomatic effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula while maintaining a steadfast combined defense posture through their frequent phone calls as well as their two Ministerial Meetings in April and in June.
Etched at the bedrock of the ROK-U.S. alliance are the exemplary efforts displayed by the winners of the Korea America Friendship Society Award and all other service members of our great two nations in all their expertise and station alike.
I would like to devote this moment to them and extend my deepest gratitude.
Finally, I would like to thank once more President Hwang Jin Ha for inviting me to this meaningful event as well as all the distinguished guests for their participation. My wishes go to the Korea America Friendship for its perpetual growth and with hopes that it continues its central role in developing the ROK-U.S. Alliance.