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Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 07:25 GMT 08:25 UK
Pyongyang, I love you
Kim Jong-il and Kim  Dae-jung at the airport
Kim Dae-jung [R]: On North Korean soil for the first time
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung's emotional plea for solidarity ahead of the unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

"Honourable citizens of Pyongyang and North Korea, I am truly glad to meet you. I came here because I wanted to meet you.

Kim Dae-jung waves at Pyongyang airport
Kim Dae-jung was surprised by welcome
"I came here because I wanted to see the mountains and rivers of the North that I have yearned to see even [in] my dreams. It has been too long. I have finally come after going around and about over that long period of time.

"It was not just once or twice that I plunged into deep despair thinking that I would never be able to step on the soil of the North in my lifetime. But now, I have attained my lifelong wish.

"The 70 million Korean people in the South and North are also ardently hoping to attain their wish as soon as possible.

'Just a beginning'

"More than anything, I wholeheartedly thank Chairman Kim Jong-il for inviting me and my delegation. I also thank all of you who are welcoming us so warmly like this. And I convey warm greetings from your compatriots in the South.

The two leaders walk down the red carpet at Pyongyang
The two leaders are hoping for warmer relations
"As president of the South, I came to Pyongyang to lead the effort for peace, co-operation and unification in accordance with the will of your compatriots in the South.

"I believe the expectations which our compatriots in the North have in the summit between Chairman Kim Jong-il and I are as great as those of your compatriots in the South.

"This is just a beginning. Since the inter-Korean summit, which was just a dream, is now reality, we will solve problems one at a time.


"Together with Chairman Kim Jong-il, I will give my all in searching for ways for all Koreans in the South and North to live peacefully and lead a better life.

Reclusive leader Kim Jong-il
Reclusive leader Kim Jong-il applauds his rival
"Honourable citizens of Pyongyang and North Korea, we will not be able to resolve all at once the bitterness that has accumulated over the past half century.

"But well begun is half done. I wholeheartedly hope that all the Korean people will have hopes for reconciliation, co-operation and peaceful unification on account of my visit to Pyongyang.

"We will do our utmost to resolve the problems that can be solved one at a time.

'I love you'

"We will surely solve those issues which we do not solve this time by meeting for a second and third time.

"I hope that the citizens of Pyongyang and North Korea will give Chairman Kim Jong-il and me strong support and encouragement.

"Compatriots in the North, we are one people. We share the same fate. Let us hold hands firmly. I love you all. Thank you."

President Kim had intended to give this speech on arrival at Pyongyang airport, but in the event it was read out by a spokesman at the guesthouse where he is staying.

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See also:

13 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Korean leaders' historic handshake
08 Oct 98 | Korean elections 97
South Korea: A political history
22 Feb 99 | Korean elections 97
Kim Dae Jung: A political profile
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