Address to the Nation by acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on the Ruling by the Constitutional Court to Uphold the Impeachment of President Park Geun-hye
Today, there was a ruling upholding the impeachment of the President.
We are facing the first removal from office of a president through impeachment in our constitutional history. I feel deeply frustrated and devastated. I feel a sense of grave responsibility for what has transpired. I apologize to the people with all my heart.
The Government will execute state affairs with an extraordinary commitment greater than at any time before.
Over the past few months, Korean society has been fraught with serious conflicts and confrontations. Every weekend, the downtown areas were filled with large-scale protests both supporting and opposing the impeachment―thus the people are so divided. Hostility and hatred have escalated over time. Worse yet, there is a growing phenomenon of thinking of each other as enemies.
It is truly regrettable, indeed.
Today’s ruling by the Constitutional Court was handed down in accordance with the Constitution and laws. The Republic of Korea is a liberal democracy founded on the rule of law. We all must respect the decision of the Constitutional Court.
There must be some people who still find the result utterly unacceptable and have difficulty conceding it. Now is the time, however, for acceptance and an end to the discord and friction that have only deepened so far.
No matter what differences in ideas and means, I believe all those who have held candles and national flags have done so out of patriotism and concern for the country.
It is undesirable to exacerbate conflicts and confrontations through continued outdoor rallies. Precious lives were lost during the protests today, which is truly lamentable. No more such sacrifices should follow.
Furthermore, there should be no aberrations threatening public order under any circumstances. Now is high time to better understand each other, tend to wounds and hold each other's cold hands.
My fellow Koreans,
The country is now facing a grave crisis. It is undergoing such complex challenges as North Korea's nuclear and missile threats, rapidly changing international situations, uncertainties in the domestic and global economy and day-to-day unrest among the people. On top of this, the country has to elect a new president within a short span of 60 days.
We must overcome the crisis and stabilize state affairs as early as possible. If unity does not serve as our foundation after we sort out the current chaos, it would be impossible to stabilize state affairs and manage the presidential election in a fair manner.
The Government will remain fully committed to dealing with the current state of emergency and taking necessary countermeasures. On the basis of solid security readiness, we will see to it that uncertainty in connection with foreign relations does not increase.
In addition, the Government will swiftly respond to risk factors in the economy and finance. It will pay keen attention to taking care of the vulnerable who suffer more when the going is tough and redouble efforts to better manage the economy to benefit ordinary people.
To this end, I ask for active cooperation from the politicians.
Now problems need to be solved in the National Assembly, not on the plaza. The National Assembly needs to draw up an agreement through dialogue and concessions. It should play a significant role in easing the conflicts among the people and healing their wounds.
I hope the National Assembly will return to its original role of taking the lead in uniting the people and, in so doing, will cooperate with the Government in helping the Republic of Korea restore hope.
Over the past three months, I have visited many places to listen to various people in order to minimize the vacuum in state affairs and stably manage them. Along with the entire Cabinet, I continued to endeavor to the best of my ability to take care of state affairs. Without your cooperation, it would not have been possible. I wholeheartedly thank all of you who have actively helped.
We had the capability of building the Republic of Korea of today, prevailing over a series of ordeals. I believe that we have the potential to quickly overcome the current crisis without fail, with the combined strength of the people. I expect all of you will gather your wisdom and strength so that we can move on together with hope, not allowing the Republic of Korea to come to a standstill.
I earnestly ask for your cooperation once again.
Thank you very much.