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John Key

27 July, 2013

Address to Armistice Commemoration Ceremony, Seoul, South Korea

Madam President, distinguished guests, honoured veterans, ladies and gentlemen

It is an honour to address you on behalf of the countries invited here today to commemorate, with our Korean partners, the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Agreement which ended hostilities in the Korean War.

We are here to remember the heroism and the sacrifices of Korean and allied troops from 21 nations large and small, including my country New Zealand, which answered the call of the Korean government and the United Nations.

We remember with gratitude those who gave their lives to defend freedom, as well as the many thousands who were wounded.

We also thank the veterans of the conflict, many of whom are here today.

Your selflessness and courage in the most difficult conditions will never be forgotten.

We remember also the immense suffering borne by the Korean people during the conflict, including families who are still separated.

And we celebrate the efforts and the success of the South Korean people in the 60 years since the armistice in building the nation we see now around us.

The greatest reward for the sacrifices of the South Korean and allied soldiers during the war is the freedom, democracy and prosperity of the Republic of Korea today - a respected member of the international community, a major player in the world economy, and a contributor to peace and security in many parts of the world.

The Republic of Korea is a valued partner for all of the countries represented here.

As we know, the Armistice brought a close to hostilities, but it did not end the war.

60 years later there is still no peace treaty and Korea remains a divided nation.

We hope that the pain of separation can be healed and the division of Korea eventually overcome.

We urge North Korea to work constructively with the Republic of Korea and the international community for peace on the Korean peninsula.

In that respect the Armistice Agreement still has a role to play, helping to provide the stability on which trust and cooperation with North Korea can be built.

Today as we remember the shared sacrifices of the past, and the contribution they made in building the present, let us also pray for a peaceful future for our friends, partners and allies here in Korea.

  • John Key
  • Prime Minister