Presidential Address Commemorating the 24th Anniversary of the June 10th Democratic Uprising

Respected fellow citizens,

We are gathered here today to commemorate the June 10th Democratic Uprising which marked a great turning point in Korea’s history of democracy 24 years ago. I would like to express my deepest respect to all those who sacrificed themselves for democracy in this land and their families.

In June 1987 we cried out in unison for democracy in every corner of the nation.

Students and young people led the way and citizens joined them.

Merchants handed out food and water, drivers honked their horns.

Masses of people by the roadside waved white handkerchiefs.

All our citizens became heroes of history and peacefully achieved democratic progress.

My beloved citizens, in continuing the spirit of the June 10th Democratic Uprising, it is time for us to achieve a more mature and deeper democracy.

To do this I believe that we must first affirm and take pride in our past history. There are still many countries in this global village that suffer under poverty and oppression of authoritarian regimes. Korea has achieved industrialization and democratization together. Our effort to escape the yoke of poverty was a painstaking struggle for “basic human rights.”

The flower of democratization blossomed on the field of industrialization.

Democratization made industrialization honorable and dignified life possible.

Korea became a model of economic development and of democracy for developing countries.

Last year, with the hosting of the G20 Seoul Summit, we sagaciously worked through the period of change in global order and emerged as a member of the world’s major countries.

The history we made is considered a miracle of world history in the postwar era.

This, I believe, is owed to the efforts of all our people, who, united in one spirit, turned crises into new opportunities.

Respected fellow citizens, before us stand still many mountains to conquer.

The warmth of economic growth has not spread evenly, jobs for young people are lacking.

To become a society where all citizens live well together and young people can freely design their future dreams, I believe a democracy that considers the public good of the nation before the interests of special individuals or groups must take root. Also, in order for our democracy to reach a more mature stage, we must have a “fair society.”

It should provide equal opportunities to all and enable the people to collect the fruits of their sweat.

Our democracy must also look outside our own boundaries and acquire a wider horizon.

We must turn our attention to the world and share concerns about global issues, such as the climate change crisis or the poverty of underdeveloped countries, and become a nation that contributes to the future of mankind.

Respected fellow citizens, as we have created a miracle of history during the past 60 years, I believe that, in the next 60 years, Korea will become a nation opening a new path of history.

We can do it. Again, I extend my love and respect to all those who have given themselves for our democracy and to all of our great people.

Thank you.


June 10, 2011

President Lee Myung-bak