Moon says S. Korea’s destiny can change dramatically through inter-Korean, U.S.-N. Korea summits

SEOUL, President Moon Jae-in said Friday that South Korea will see its "destiny change dramatically" and leap forward if it takes advantage of the planned inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea summits to bring peace to the divided peninsula.

Moon made the remark during a ceremony to announce a future vision for the southeastern port of Busan, saying the two summits -- one between him and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the other between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump expected to take place in May -- would mark a "grand turnaround" in global history.

"If we cover this opportunity and link the South and the North, the Korean Peninsula will see its destiny change dramatically and the Republic of Korea's dream of becoming a global leader will come true," Moon said during the ceremony at the Busan port.

Moon pledged active state support to upgrade and renovate the Busan port to make the country's second-largest city go beyond South Korea's maritime capital and become the "maritime capital of Asia" and a "shipping hub" in Northeast Asia.

Taking advantage of the country's advanced information and communications technologies, the Busan port can be transformed into a state-of-the-art port equipped with smart maritime shipping systems and high-speed maritime communication networks, he said.

"The government will make unsparing investment in research and development of key technologies and actively invest in efforts to make the Busan port state of the art," Moon said.

Facilities will be greatly beefed up with the goal of increasing the number of berths at the port from the current 21 to 29 by 2022 and to 40 by 2030 so that the port will be able to handle 30 million containers a year, Moon said.

The establishment of a liquefied natural gas supply center for ships and a shipyard for repairing large-scale vessels will create added value and increase jobs, he said.

It was Moon's ninth visit to Busan and its surrounding South Gyeongsang Province since taking office in May last year. Critics say such visits will have positive effects on the ruling Democratic Party's chances in June's local elections, though presidential officials said the visits have nothing to do with elections.

"I am a son of Busan who grew up seeing the Busan port and shipyard. Seeing the ocean, I dreamed my dreams and grew up with Busan's development," Moon said. "The Busan port is a hope of not only Busan but also the Republic of Korea, and the history of the Busan port is the history of the Republic of Korea's economic development."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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