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Remarks made officially at the celebration of the country's 65th National Liberation Day, which also is the 65th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial's rule.
ROK president Lee analyses that the current inter-Korean ties demand a new paradigm, and it is "imperative that the two sides choose coexistence instead of confrontation, progress instead of stagnation." He proposes that Seoul and Pyongyang should build an inter- Korean "peace community" first to assure security and harmony on the Korean Peninsula, then work for an "economic community" for a comprehensive exchange and mutual prosperity. And after this, the two sides can establish a genuine "national community".
Lee: "it's time for discussing substantive measures for the reunification of the two Koreas, such as a unification tax." The country needs to consider the "unification tax" to prepare for the huge financial burden in case the two Koreas realize the reunification.
ROK President Lee Myung-bak, Aug 15th, Seoul
According to a study by a parliamentary committee, Seoul is expected to bear about 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars cost if the "two Koreas" are reunited, local media said. However, Lee stressed that "what the most important thing at present is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
On Seoul's relations with Tokyo, Lee positively assessed Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's apology for Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula earlier this week, calling it a "step forward". However, Lee said there still remain unresolved tasks and the two countries should take concrete measures to forge a new relationship for another 100 years. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Japan's forcible annexation of the Korean Peninsula.
The Workers' Party of North Korea (DPRK) will hold a selection meeting in September and current leader Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Kim Jong-un, is thought to be next in line, unless an other offspring of the late Kim Il Sung was to reappear.
Maybe all conditions are not quite yet here but... who predicted Germany reunification?
Sources: Agencies, Reporter's notes